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Fia I 

A. Gregory^ delt. 


For description see pp. 273-275. 

jNjiV THE 






By J."W. GREGORY, '?fof- ". -^' 

D.SC. (LOND. ) 

F.G.S. , F.R.G.S. , F.Z.S. 


' Or join the caravan in quest of scenes 
New to the eye and changing every hour. ' 

John Armstrong, The Art of Preserving Health, 1744. 


^A I AZ A- 


I 896 

(Eo t'^E ilHemoru of 




In the Presidential x\ddress to the British Association at its 
last meeting, Mr. Thiselton-Dyer quoted a letter from Sir 
John Kirk, deploring the neglect of opportunities for scientific 
usefulness by British residents in West Africa. "■ Such 
chances," he said, " never will occur again, for roads are 
now being made and ways cut in the jungle and forest, 
and you have at hand all sorts of trees level on the ground 
ready for study. These bring down with them orchids, ferns, 
and climbers of many kinds, including rattan palms, etc. 
But, excellent as are the officers who devote their energy to 
thus opening up this country, there is not one man who knows 
a palm from a dragon-tree, so the chance is lost. Strange to 
say, the medical men of the Government service know less and 
care less for Natural History than the military men, who at 
least regret they have no training or study to enable them to 
take an intelligent interest in what they see around them." 

Having felt the same regret on the other side of the 
continent, I had already divided this book into two parts — one 
devoted to a narrative of a journey in Eastern British East 
Africa, and the other to a general account of the natural history 
of the country visited. I have tried to make the latter suf- 
ficiently simple to be intelligible to most readers, and yet of 



use to travellers and residents in East Africa, by indicating the 
nature of the problems on which information is desired, and by 
suggesting lines of observation and research. 

This part of the book is entitled " Eastern British East 
Africa," as attention is almost entirely confined to the part of 
the protectorate along, and to the east of, the Great Rift 
Valley. This area has been greatly neglected in comparison 
with the country to the west, which has been repeatedly 
described since it was first reached by Speke and Grant from 
the south, and by Baker from the north. The literature of the 
Victoria Nyanza basin (including Uganda) is voluminous, while 
that of the plateau region between it and the sea is scanty. 
References to most of the works upon it will be found in the 
text,^ but it may be as well here to mention a few of the 
most generally accessible authorities. The principal accounts of 
exploration in this district are Krapf's Travels in East Africa 
(i860), Thomson's Through Masai Land (1885), and von 
Hohnel's Discovery of Lakes Rudolf and Stephanie (1892, 
English ed. 1894). Lugard's Rise of our East African Empire 
(1893), though dealing mainly with Nyasaland and Uganda, is 
indispensable to all students of this country, and gives the best 
account of its actual politics ; while M'Dermott's British East 
Africa, and the Blue-books on the Uganda Railway, give its 
documentary politics. Ravenstein's twelve-sheet map is a 
complete compilation of all information available at the date of 
its publication (1889). The history of the growth of British 
influence in this region is told with masterly clearness and 
terseness in Y>.&\\\€'s, Partition of Africa {i^g'^ and 1895). For 
comparison of Kenya with Kilima Njaro, the other snow-clad 
peak of East Africa, reference may be made to Hans Meyer's 
Across East African Glaciers (English translation, 1891). 

1 See especially pp. 7-9, 214, 280, 316. 


Of scientific literature on British East Africa there is 
unfortunately little to record. There is nothing which can 
compare with the magnificent series of works issued in descrip- 
tion of German East Africa, such as Stuhlmann's Mit Emiii 
Pascha im Her::: von Afrika, Oscar Baumann's Zur Nil-Quellen, 
and the elaborate monographs in the volumes of PJlansemvelt 
Ost-Afrikas, and Die TJiierzvelt Ost-Afrikas. The anthropo- 
logical chapters in Stuhlmann and Baumann, and the botanical 
papers of Volkens, show that these authors unite the learning of 
the scientific specialist with the courage of the pioneer. The 
only work on Tropical Africa in English that can compare 
with these in scientific accuracy is The Flora of Tropical Africa, 
the last part of which was published in 1877 ; but this barely 
mentions British East Africa. The last 100 pages (vol. iii. 
pp. 425-525) include abundant references to Abyssinia, Somali- 
land, Monbuttu, Karagwe, Kilima Njaro, etc. ; but of the 214 
species therein described, British East Africa only contributed 

Dr. H. R. Mill has remarked {Knozvledge, Jan. 1 896, p. 2) 
that in pioneer exploration England has led the way, but that 
in scientific geography we have always been beaten by our 
German rivals. The history of the exploration of Equatorial 
Africa is one to which Englishmen can look back with feelings 
of such just pride, that we may ungrudgingly admit the 
superiority of German scientific work in this region. 

The Expedition of which the narrative is given in this 
volume was undertaken in 1892 and 1893. The delay in 
writing the account of it is due partly to my having returned 
— thanks to African fever — with lessened powers of work, and 
partly to arrears of work which had accumulated during my 
absence. Hence the book has had to be written in scraps at 
odd hours, generally at the end of days devoted to work on 


quite different subjects. This must be my excuse for the lack 
of uniformity and errors in style, of which I am sadly conscious. 
This delay explains that most of the book was written before 
the administration of the British East African Company had 
been superseded by a direct protectorate. The references to 
the Masai in the last chapter were printed before their recent 
massacre of a thousand men on the Uganda road showed that 
their capacity for mischief is not yet destroyed. 

It may be explained, in reference to the spelling of native 
words and place-names, that the ordinary geographical rule 
has been followed as far as practicable — vowels being pro- 
nounced as in Italian, and consonants as in English. The 
vowels, therefore, are used as follows : — 






















An apparent discrepancy occurs in the spelling of personal 
specific names, these being sometimes spelt with small letrers 
and sometimes with capitals (thus Hemidactyhis brooki and 
Senecio JoJinstoni). In deference to the wishes of my botanical 
colleagues, I have accepted capital letters in the case of 

In conclusion, there remains the pleasant task of expressing 
my sincere thanks for the helpful encouragement of friends 
at home, and for the unstinted and ever ready assistance of 
European residents in East Africa. I feel grateful to so many, 
that it is invidious to make selections ; but I will not deny 
myself the pleasure of thanking some because I cannot name 
all. To Sir William Flower, K.C.B., and Dr. Henry Wood- 


ward, F.R.S., I owe, amongst other things, the recommendation 
upon which the Trustees of the British Museum gave me the 
necessary leave of absence. To Sir Henry Tichborne, Captain 
W. H. Harris, and Mr. J. Benett-Stanford, I am grateful for 
many acts of kindness when with them in East Africa, and 
for a generous present of stores from those of the abortive 
expedition. I must express my best thanks to Mr. J. R. W. 
Piggott and Dr. Macdonald for hospitality during my two 
stays at Mombasa, and to Captain Rogers, Mr. C. W. Hobley, 
Mr. George Wilson, Mr. Ainsworth of Machakos, Mr. Watson 
of Kibwezi, Mr. Hall of Fort Smith, for help which removed 
many difficulties from my path. I must also thank those of 
my colleagues who have worked out the collections brought 
home, viz. Dr. A. Giinther and Mr. G. A. Boulenger, Dr. A. 
G. Butler, Mr. E. A. Smith, Dr. R. Bowdler Sharpe, Professor 
F. Jeffrey Bell, and Mr. Oldfield Thomas, who have described 
respectively the fish and reptiles, the lepidoptera, mollusca, 
birds, land Crustacea, and mammalia. New species of plants 
have been described by Miss A. L. Smith, Mr. Spencer Moore, 
Mr. E. G. Baker, Mr. A. B. Rendle, and Dr. Rudolf Schlechter, 
and lists have been contributed by Mr. J. Britten and Mr. A. 
Gepp. I must also thank Mr. G. R. M. Murray and Mr. C. 
E. Fagan for their interest in the Expedition, and Mr. C. J. 
Gahan for his help in connection with the questions concerning 
Plata nigrocincta (pp. 273-275), and Mr. E. G. Baker, who has 
read through the proof of Chapter XV. 

I have also received much valuable assistance in the prepara- 
tion of this book, which I gratefully acknowledge. Mr. J. Benett- 
Stanford has kindly lent me the negatives from which Plates 
Nos. H.-VH. and XVIH.-XX. have been prepared. Mr. Hallam 
Murray has taken great trouble in making from my rough sketches 
the admirable drawings of the Kedong and Hohnel Valleys, and 


the scenes by the snout of the Lewis Glacier (Nos. VIII. XIII. 
XV. and XVI.) He has also redrawn, and thus rendered avail- 
able for process reproduction, the view of Kenya from the Kapte 
Plains, sketched by Mr. Ainsworth. For permission to use 
the photograph of the southern end of the Victoria Nyanza, I 
have to thank Mr. Gedge. For the Frontispiece, and Plates 
Nos. I. IX. X. XI. XIV. and XVII., I am indebted to my 
wife, who has taken great pains accurately to interpret my 
rough sketches ; I also owe her much assistance in the 
revision of proofs and compilation of indexes. For per- 
mission to reprint Map No. II. and Figs. 3, 6, 11, and 13 
from the Geographical Journal, and Fig. 4 from the Quarterly 
Journal oj the Geological Society, I have to thank the Councils 
of the Geographical and Geological Societies, The conditions 
under which the book has been written are partly responsible 
for the defects in its style ; that these are not more serious 
than they are I owe to Dr. W. R. Gowers, F.R.S., who has 
kindly read through nearly the whole of the manuscript, and 
given me the benefit of many most useful criticisms and 
suggestions. I must also thank Mr. Murray for his kind 
interest and advice. 

The pleasure of looking back to these many acts of kind- 
ness is, however, lessened by the fact that the mortality in 
British East Africa has sadly shortened the list of those to 
whom I can express thanks. Bird Thompson and Rae of 
Witu, J. Bell Smith of Melindi, Edmonds of Borabini, the two 
brothers Dick of Mombasa, Charters of Kibwezi, and Purkiss of 
Fort Smith — a terribly high proportion of the few men who held 
British East Africa in 1892-93 — have all since passed away. 
In such countries, as Carlyle said, "how much European 
heroism has to spend itself in obscure battle, to sink in mortal 
agony, before the jungles, the putrescences, and waste savageries 


can become arable, and the devils be in some measure chained 
there." Such sacrifices ought only to confirm British interest 
in the country and deepen our sense of responsibility. For we 
owe it to those who have perished, "worn -down swiftly in 
frightful travail, chaining the devils which are manifold," to 
make sure that their labours be not wasted nor their lives laid 
down in vain. 


3 Aubrey Road, Campden Hill, W. 
January 1S96. 



Introduction ........ i 


An Abortive Expedition 


1. Preparing for the Start ...... 13 

2. With the Advance Guard to the Tana . . . .26 

3. Collapse and Return ...... 36 


To Baringo and Mount Kenya 

4. At — A Second Start . . . . .51 

5. On the Uganda Road ...... 62 

6. Across. the Lands of the Kikuyu and Masai . .89 

7. Along the Rift Valley to Baringo .... 107 

8. The Stay AT NjEMPs and Excursions around Baringo . .119 

9. Across Laikipia ....... 146 

10. On THE Snowfields and Glaciers of Kenya . . . 162 

11. The Return March ...... i8q 


PART 111 

Eastern British East Africa 


12. The Physical Geography and the Geology of British East 

Africa . . • • • • • • " o 

13. Problems of the Distribution of the East African Flora and 

Fauna ..•••••• ^37 

14. Notes on the Fauna of British East Africa . • .263 

15. The Flora OF British East Africa . • ■ .280 

16. The Zanzibari . • • • • -29 

17. The Natives of Eastern British East Africa . . .316 
Section A. The Stone Age in East Africa . • ■ 322 

B. The Negrillo or Pygmy Tribes . • 3^5 

The Doko of Laikipia 

C. The Negro Races . ■ • • • 334 

(a) The Bantu of British East Africa 

1. Tke Suakili 

2. The Wa-pokomo 

3. The Wa-kamba 

(h) The Negroid Races 

1. The Kikuyu 

2. The Masai 

3. The Njeiupsians (IVa-kwafi) 

D. The Hamitic Races . . - • • 35^ 

{a) The Galla 
{b) The Somali 

E. The Semitic Races . . • • • 359 

The Abyssinians 

18. The National Movements and Future Prospects of British 

East Africa . • ■ ■ • • • o - 


Appendices — 


A. List of Literature ox Expedition and its Collections . 387 

B. Catalogue of Plants Collected — 

Part I. Polypetal.e, by E. G. Baker, F.L.S. . . 389 

n. Monopetalae, BY James Britten, F.L.S. . 392 

in. Apetal^, by James Britten, F.L.S., and A. B. 

Rendle, M.A., F.L.S. . . . 396 

IV. Monocotyledons, BY A. B. Rendle, M. A., F.L.S. 397 

V. Mosses, Hepatics, and Lichens, by A. Gepp, 

M.A., F.L.S. . . . .400 

VI. Fungi, by Annie L. Smith and J. B. Car- 

ruthers, F.L.S. . . . . 403 

VII. Cyperace^, by C. B. Clarke, F.R.S., 

P.L.S., etc. .... 404 

C. List of Mammalia Collected, by Oldfield Thomas, F.L.S. . 406 

Glossary of Native Words and Technical Terms 
Index of Authors and Persons 
Index of Localities .... 
Subject Index ..... 



Cluster of insects [Plata nigrocincta. Walker) grouped to resemble an inflores- 
cence. Fig. I, the colony including green bud-like forms, pink flower- 
like forms, and lichen-like larvae, f natural size. Fig. 2, the pink 
forms with wings expanded, -*- natural size ; Fig. 2a, female ; Fig. zb, 
male. Fig. 30:, a green female form, a natural size, with wings 
expanded ; Fig. ^b and 3^, the same form with wings closed . Frontispiece 


1. Two Types of African Lake Shores. (By A. Gregory) . To face page 3 

The Southern Shores of the Victoria Nyanza. (From a photograph 

by E. Gedge) 
The Western Wall of Tanganyika. (After Giraud) 

2. The Old Fort at Lamu. (From a photograph by J. Benett-Stanford) 

To face page 14 

3. The Ruins of the Sultan's Palace at Witu. (From a photograph by J. 

Benett-Stanford) .... To face page 18 

4. The Garrison of Witu. (From a photograph by J. Benett-Stanford) 

To face page 26 

5. The Zanzibari Camp at Ngatana. (From a photograph by J. Benett- 

Stanford) ..... To face page 38 

6. The Doctor " At Home," a Scene in Camp at Ngatana. (From a photo- 

graph by J. Benett-Stanford) . . . To face page 41 

7. The Abyssinian Camp at Ngatana. (From a photograph by J. Benett- 

Stanford) ..... To face page 42 

8. The Eastern Wall of the Rift Valley, with the Terraces of Lake Suess. 

(By A. Hallam Murray) . . . To face page 94 

9. Longonot from the Summit of Doenyo Nyuki. (By A. Gregory from a 

sketch by the Author) .... To face page 97 

10. The Crater and Steam Vent of Longonot. (By A. Gregory from a sketch 

by the Author) .... To face page 98 

11. The Southern End of Lake Baringo. (By A. Gregory from a sketch by 

the Author) ..... To face page 128 


12'!'' Kenya from the Kapte Plains west of Machakos. (By A. Hallam Murray 

from a sketch by J. Ainsworth) . • To face page 162 

13. View in the Hohnel Valley. (By A. Hallam Murray) . ,, 171 

14. The Central Summit of Kenya from the Summit of Mount Hohnel. (By 

A. Gregory from a sketch by the Author) . To face page 174 

15. Fundi's Prayer. (By A. Hallam Murray) . . • ,, 176 

16. The Lewis Glacier. (By A. Hallam Murray) . . „ 178 

17. The Western Arete of Mount Kenya, with Point Piggott and the Tyndal 

Glacier. (By A. Gregory from a sketch by the Author) To face page 180 

18 Two Wa-pokomo of the Tana. (From a photograph by J. Benett- 

Stanford) . • • • • To face page 343 

19. A Somali in National Dress. (From a photograph by J. Benett-Stanford) 

To face page 357 

20. Two Somali Headmen. (From a photograph by J. Benett-Stanford) 

To face page 358 









Map of East African Lake-Chain. (After Suess) 

Rift Valleys of the Moon. Part of the Moon, including Merca 
(From Nasmyth) . . • • • 

Diagrammatic Comparison of Maps of Settima . 

The South-Western Quadrant of the Central Part of Kenya 

Terminal Moraines of the Lewis Glacier 

Diagrams showing Relations of Head Streams of the Tana and 

Geological Sketch-Map of British East Africa . 

Three Types of Volcanic Eruptions 

Section across Rift Valley . . . • 

Section across a " Block Mountain " . 

Section across British East Africa 

Maps of Zoological Distribution. (According to Giinther) 

Map of Present and Former Range of Alpine Flora 

Diagrams illustrating the Beheading of River Valleys 

The Neighbourhood of the Esdraelon Gap 

Diagram of possible former Source of the Nile . 

A Bushman Rock-Painting of Burchell's Rhinoceros 

Ethnographical Map of Africa .... 

Neolithic Stone Implements from Masailand 


tor, etc 







MAPS xxi 


20. Ornamented Doko Arrow ...... 330 

21. The Head of a Galla. (After Paulitschke) .... 356 

22. Map of British East Africa, showing Masai War-Paths . . . 366 

23. Map showing the .Southward Advance of the Somali . . . 368 


1. Map of Eastern Central Africa, showing Route of Expedition, i : 5,700,000. 

2. Map of the Region round Mount Kenya and Lake Baringo, i : 1,000,000. 

Inset Map — i. The Central Peak of Kenya, i : 125,000.1 

2. The Ridges of the Iveti Mountains, i : 2,000,000. 

3. Lake Baringo, i : 500,000. 

1 Not I : 250,000 as stated on map. 


In the early days of African exploration the interest of the 
geographical problems was so absorbing that but little attention 
was paid to those of other branches of natural science. This 
restricted range of interest was originally due to the fascination 
of the problems of the sources of the Nile and the course 
of the Congo, the exploration of the great lakes, and the 
discovery of the equatorial snow-capped mountains. It sur- 
vived, however, owing to the once prevalent belief that Tropical 
Africa would never yield its fair share of help in the ad- 
vancement of science. It was thought that all we had to 
expect from the exploration of this region was the record of 
new topographical facts and the removal of the blank spaces 
from our maps. Some of the problems its natural histor}^ 
presented to us were regarded as too complex to be solved 
with the available methods of inquiry. For example, the 
extent to which the tribes have intermarried and intermingled, 
have acquired new languages and lost all knowledge of their 
own, has so confused the race characteristics, that many 
authorities have sadly confessed it to be absolutely impossible 
to place African anthropology on a scientific basis. The 
evidence of this region on the remaining subjects was, on the 
other hand, regarded as too simple and monotonous to affect 
the development of scientific principles. Thus, when it was 
reported that from whatever side approached, in whatever 
direction traversed, the whole interior of the continent consisted 
of one vast expanse of gneiss and schist, geologists were ready, 
with Sir Roderick Murchison, to dismiss Africa south of the 
Sahara as a continent without a history. 




So long has this view lasted, that even as late as 1891 we 
find Professor Henry Drummond saying : " Finally, the thing 
about the geology of Africa that strikes one as especially 
significant is, that throughout this vast area just opening up 
to science there is nothing new — no unknown force at work ; 
no rock strange to the petrographer ; no pause in denudation ; 
no formation, texture, or structure to put the law of continuity 
to confusion."^ 

No doubt it is true that in Equatorial Africa the study of 
ethnography is attended with special difficulties, the flora of 
vast areas is poor in species, the rocks are monotonous in 
character, and the paleontological record is a blank. Never- 
theless the old view has been abandoned. African exploration 
is now not undertaken only for the sake of obtaining fresh 
topographical details, of undergoing adventures with cannibals, 
and of " potting " big game. Instead of these we look to it to 
supply us with information on some of the doubtful chapters 
in the geological history of Europe, to give us insight into 
unknown or unfamiliar methods in the earth's great workshop, 
and to exert an important influence on the development of 
scientific principles. 

Moreover, when studied from the modern point of view, the 
topographical details themselves acquire a fresh value. The 
investigation of the East African lake system has been the 
branch of exploration in which the widest general interest has 
been taken, ever since the native reports of the existence of the 
great inland seas were verified by Burton and Speke's discovery 
of Tanganyika (1857) and Livingstone's discovery of Nyasa 


Probably the most interesting series of journeys in the 

records of African travel were those made to the lakes of the 

great eastern plateau, including as it does the many efforts 

to settle the long controversy as to the position of Tanganyika 

in the African river system : Speke's two journeys to the 

Nyanza ; the circumnavigation of this lake by which Stanley 

proved its unity ; Baker's visit to the Albert Nyanza ; the 

expeditions in which Fischer discovered Lakes Natron and 

Naivasha, and Thomson demonstrated the isolation of Baringo ; 

Teleki and von Hohnel's exploration of Basso Narok and 

1 H. Drummond, Tropical Africa, 4th edition (1891), p. 199. 

The Southern Shores of the Victoria Nyanza. (After Gedge.) 

No. I. 

The W'esiek.n- Wall of Tanganyika. (After Giraud.) 

Page 3. 


Basso Ebor (Lakes Rudolf and Stephanie) ; and Baumann's 
recent march past Manyara and Eiassi. 

The determination of the principal features in the topo- 
graphy of these lakes has, however, done more to stimulate 
than to satisfy our desire for knowledge about them. Mr. F. 
Galton,^ in the discussion on Mr. Thomson's paper on his 
journey through Masailand, pointed out that the great de- 
pression or trough in which Naivasha and Baringo lie, is part 
of one " which begins with the Dead Sea, extends down the 
Red Sea, and ends at Tanganyika." This view has often been 
repeated, but it remained as a hazy speculation until Professor 
Suess of Vienna recently gave it scientific expression. To 
understand this let us examine a map of the lake system (Fig. 
i) of East Africa. One of the first points shown by it is that 
the lakes are developed according to two absolutely different 
types. Some are rounded in shape, as the Nyanza, and others 
are long and narrow, as Tanganyika and the Nyasa. If we 
examine views of these lakes we find that the round lakes have 
low shelving shores, and that the long ones lie, like fiords, 
between high precipitous cliffs. The illustrations on the first 
plate show this contrast : the upper shows the southern shore 
of the Nyanza, and the lower, one of the bounding walls of 
Tanganyika. If we read descriptions of the lakes we learn the 
same facts. Thus Thomson^ remarks that, "unlike most other 
African lakes, the Nyanza is not bounded by ranges of moun- 
tains. The ground descends gradually to its shores, and peace- 
fully the water laps the muddy and marshy beach." 

The map, moreover, shows us that these two types of lakes 
are not distributed haphazard, but on a definite plan. The 
long fiord -like lakes occur on two lines, which pass one on 
either side of the Nyanza and meet at Basso Narok (Lake 
Rudolf). Thence the line continues northward as a long strip 
of low land, dotted with lakes and old lake basins, and sinking 
in places below the level of the sea. This extends to the 
southern end of the Red Sea, which repeats the structure of 
these fiord-like lakes on a larger scale : it is long and narrow 
and, excluding some strips of coast deposits, has high pre- 
cipitous shores. From its northern end the Gulf of Akaba 
leads to another valley with similar characteris-tics, and from 

^ Proc, Roy. Geog. Soc. new ser. vol. vi. (1884), p. 71 r. - Ibid. p. 707. 

Fig. I.— Map of East African Lake-Chain. (After Suess.) 


this the Dead Sea and Jordan valley continue the same type of 
geographical structure, till it ends on the plains of northern 

From the Lebanons, therefore, almost to the Cape there 
runs a valley, unique both on account of the persistence with 
which it maintains its trough-like form, throughout the whole 
of its course of 4000 miles, and also on account of the fact 
that scattered along its floor is a series of over thirty lakes, of 
which only one has an outlet to the sea. 

This valley and its lake-chain are so different from any- 
thing else on the surface of the earth, that it is natural to ask 
whether different portions of it have been formed independently, 
or whether it was all formed at the same time and by the same 
process. The final answer to this question must be given by 
geology, but history affords us some useful hints. All along 
the line the natives have traditions of great changes in the 
structure of the country. The Arabs tell us that the Red Sea 
is simply water that did not dry up after Noah's deluge. The 
Somali say that when their ancestors crossed from Arabia to 
Africa there was a land connection between the two, across the 
straits of Bab el Mandeb. The natives of Ujiji, at the southern 
end of the line, have a folklore that goes back to the time 
when Lake Tanganyika was formed by the flooding of a 
fertile plain, rich in cattle and plantations. And at the 
northern end of the valley we have the accounts of the 
destruction of the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

There is geological evidence to show that great earth- 
movements have happened along this Rift Valley, as it may be 
termed, at a recent date, which makes it distinctly probable 
that these traditions are recollections of the geographical 

The structure of the Rift Valley has, therefore, very varied 
interests — geological and geographical, on account of its con- 
nection with the history of the eastern basin of the Mediterranean, 
and ethnographical, on account of its explanation of some of 
the best-known stories in our folklore. But it comes in con- 
tact with the problems of science on yet another side. Fig. 
2 illustrates the structure of part of the surface of the moon, 
showing, in addition to the well-known " ring-systems " (usually 
called volcanoes), a series of long narrow clefts known as 


" rills." If all the air and water were removed from the earth, 
then the Rift Valley would present much the same aspect to 
an inhabitaiU of the moon as some of the larger of the lunar 
rills present to us. So the exploration of the Rift Valley has 
the additional attraction of offering the possibility of explaining 
the nature of some features in the surface of the moon. 

We are now fairly acquainted with the rough outlines of 
the geography of most of the line of the great African " rill." 
Our knowledge, however, of the geological structure of its 

Fig. 2. — Rift Valleys of the Moon. Part of the Moon, including Mercator, etc. 
(From Nasmyth.) 

African course is very imperfect, while one part of it in 1892 
had not even been reached by Europeans. This was greatly 
to be regretted, because its study might be expected to 
yield much important evidence. The desire to obtain more 
precise geological information as to the structure of this 
Rift Valley was, therefore, the main reason for the journey 
described in this volume. Before proceeding to the narrative, 
however, it is advisable briefly to refer to the history of the 
exploration of the region of British East Africa, in which the 
route of the expedition lay. 


The list of travellers who have worked in this area is a 
fairly long one, but the names of six men stand out pre- 
eminent, — Dr. Ludwig Krapf, Baron Carl Claus von der 
Decken, Dr. Gustav Fischer, Mr, Joseph Thomson, Count 
Samuel Teleki, and Lieut. Ludwig von Hohnel. 

The Rift Valley was not first reached in British East 
Africa, but far to the south, toward the end of its two main 
branches. Of these, the western was entered by Burton and 
Speke on Tanganyika in 1857, and the eastern by Livingstone 
on the Nyasa in 1859. These pioneers were soon followed by 
others, and that district became familiar owing to the explora- 
tions and descriptions of many travellers and traders. Our 
knowledge of the equatorial regions of East Africa was, how- 
ever, for long allowed to flag. Considerable attention had been 
previously attracted to them by the discovery there of two 
snow-capped mountains, Kilima Njaro and Kenya. The first 
was discovered by Rebmann in 1848 ; the second by Krapf in 
1849. But little work of much scientific value was done till the 
journeys of Baron von der Decken in 1862-65. After his 
murder at Barderah on the Juba in 1865, scientific explora- 
tion stopped, and the next important additions to our know- 
ledge of the region were based on native information. From 
time immemorial Arab and Suahili traders have sent caravans 
into the interior, and they discovered the main facts in its 
geography. Their information was collected by T. Wakefield 
of Mombasa and Clemens Denhardt of Lamu, and maps con- 
structed therefrom. The map issued by the latter was 
based on thirty-three carefully recorded itineraries. It marked 
every important lake, river, and mountain in Masailand before 
a single European had set foot in that country. The outlines 
of the lakes and the courses of the rivers are often very in- 
correct, but the amount of information this map gave was 
enormous, and the facts are often remarkably accurate. In 
many points the structure of the country and the relations of 
the rivers are more fully and correctly represented than on the 
maps of later authors who have actually traversed the country. 
Thus in 1881 we find Lake Losuguta (Lake Hannington) in- 
serted, whereas it was omitted from all other maps until that of 
von Hohnel in 1892. Settima is correctly mapped; and the 
separation of Lake Lorian from the Tana, proved by Chanler 


and Hohnel in 1893, was then shown, though it was not 
accepted by geographers. 

The two most fundamental errors in Denhardt's map were 
the omission of the Rift Valley and the exaggeration of the 
size of Lake Baringo, These were serious, and most of the 
minor mistakes in the map result from them. They were 
corrected by Fischer and Thomson, with whom rests the credit 
of having first broken down the barrier of mystery and fear 
that for so long kept Europeans out of the Masai country. To 
Fischer belongs the honour of having first entered Masailand 
and demonstrated the occurrence of the Rift Valley in Equa- 
torial Africa. He entered this valley in 1883, west of Mount 
Meru, near Kilima Njaro, and tracked it northward, past the 
still steaming volcano of Doenyo Ngai, and along the shores 
of Lake Natron, until he was stopped by the exhaustion of his 
food supply, on the steppes to the north of Lake Naivasha. 
His valuable ethnographical observations and collections, and 
his vocabulary of the language of the Masai, were the first 
reliable contributions to our knowledge of this tribe. His 
botanical and geological collections, moreover, gave important 
evidence as to the structure and natural history of this region. 

Later in the same year Thomson continued the exploration 
of the Rift Valley still farther to the north. He determined 
the real size and position of Lake Baringo, discovered the 
temperate affinities of the flora of the high plateau of Laikipia, 
and was the first European to see Kenya from the west. He 
proved, moreover, the occurrence of a double series of volcanic 
rocks in the district, and gave a geological sketch map of the 

In 1887-88 followed the most important of all the 
expeditions undertaken in British East Africa. Count Teleki, 
the faipous Hungarian sportsman, then marched along the Rift 
Valley for three hundred miles farther to the north than had pre- 
viously been reached. He discovered the two lakes. Basso Narok 
and Basso Ebor, which he named Lakes Rudolf and Stephanie. 
His discoveries were recorded by his accomplished companion 
Lieut, von Hohnel, on a map which is probably the best 
ever prepared by an African traveller. The map is so precise 
and instructive that, with the aid of the author's descriptions 
and sketches, and a small collection of rocks, it has enabled a 


very satisfactory account to be given of the geology of the 

Numerous other expeditions have also added to our know- 
ledge of the country. Piggott ascended the Tana (1889), and 
Lugard the Sabaki and the Athi (1890); Peters, with the 
German Emin Pasha Relief Expedition, fought his way across 
Laikipia (1889-90); F. J. Jackson and E, Gedge explored 
Mount Elgon (1890) ; Major Smith and James Martin opened 
new roads across the western edge of the Rift Valley to the 
Nyanza ; Ainsworth mapped the region of Western Ukamba ; 
the Railway Survey, under Captains Macdonald and Pringle, 
surveyed a line from Mombasa to the Nyanza (1892); and 
Hobley described the Taita Mountains and the Upper Tana 


The materials thus collected by many different workers in 
Africa have been studied by Professor Eduard Suess of Vienna, 
who has shown that the facts reported have a greater significance 
than their discoverers knew, In a very remarkable memoir, 
entitled Die Briicke des Ost-Afrika, he has summarised our 
knowledge of the geology and structural geography of the 
whole line of country from the Nyasa on the south to Syria 
on the north, and proved the truth of the suggestion that the 
lakes along this line are due to a connected series of earth- 
movements. He has discussed the date of these movements, and 
indicated the important collateral problems upon which their 
study may be expected to throw light. With his usual insight 
into geographical problems, he has read more of the lessons of 
the country, from descriptions, than the travellers who wrote 
them, did from the country itself. 

Suess's monograph pointed out that the part of the Rift 
Valley between the southern end of the Red Sea and the northern 
end of Basso Narok (Lake Rudolf) promises to be of especial 
interest. This had never been visited : new geographical as well 
as geological results were therefore promised by its exploration. 
I had always been keenly interested in the problems of African 
geology, and had watched the gradual opening of the Somali 
country, and longed to have a share in the work. When, 
therefore, in October 1892, the chance presented itself, I was 
of course eager to seize it. I was then asked to accompany, as 
naturalist, an expedition about to cross the Somali country to 


this one unexplored part of the Rift Valley. The expedition 
was ready to start before I had been asked to go. The 
members left London four days after I had received the invita- 
tion, and before my application for leave of absence could be 
submitted to the Trustees. At first I feared that the prolonged 
leave of absence required would be fatal to my chance of going. 
But, on the kind recommendation of Sir William Flower and 
Dr. H. Woodward, the Trustees gave me permission to accom- 
pany the expedition, on the understanding that the Museum 
should have its pick of the collections. A week later my 
hurried preparations were finished, and on 4th November 1892 
I started overland for Brindisi, to join the others at Aden. 
Nine days later I arrived at Aden in the early hours of the 
morning. The Malda was due to leave at 3 A.M., so I tran- 
shipped at once. I then made my first acquaintance with the 
Somali ; and this was ominous of my future relations with them, 
for I had to knock down two at the start. In their eagerness 
to secure me as passenger, rival crews tried to wrest the 
chronometers from my grasp. I had nursed these precious 
instruments throughout the journey with the tenderest care, I 
had never allowed any one else to carry them, and it was not 
to be expected that I should entrust them to the rough Aden 
boat-boys. As language was not strong enough to persuade 
them to keep their hands off the case, the instruments had to 
be protected in ways that the natives better understood. 

A few hours later the Malda steamed to the south-east, 
towards the limestone cliffs of Cape Guardafui (Ras Alula). 
Having rounded these, the course was altered, and we went 
southward along the Somali coast towards the roadstead of 
Kismayu, where arrangements had been made for the expedition 
to land. 


" Kulekeza si kufuma " 
(To aim is not to hit). 

Suahili Proverb. 



" In the reproof of chance lies the true proof of men." 

Troihis and Cressida, i. 3. 

The voyage from Aden round the " Horn of Africa " and along 
the eastern coast was the pleasantest part of the journey towards 
" Lake Rudolf." The officers of the British India steamer, the 
Malda, did everything they could to make the passage com- 
fortable both to us and to our noisy crowd of Somali. We 
had, moreover, the good fortune to number among our fellow- 
passengers Mr. J. R. W. Piggott, the present Administrator of 
British East Africa. He had himself led the way into the 
basin of the Upper Tana, and his wide experience of the 
country and its people was placed most generously at our 
service ; but unfortunately most of his wise advice came too late. 
The plan of the expedition was altered, and it was decided to 
land at Lamu instead of at Kismayu, and ascend the Tana 
instead of the Juba. There were many advantages in this 
route, but some of us much objected to the change. It meant 
that, for the first two months at least, we should be in known 
country, instead of plunging at once into the unknown. More- 
over, as far as we could learn, the climate was wholly urisuited 
to camels. The expedition had been planned on the basis of 
using these animals for transport, and if they failed us, we 
should fail. I felt disappointed, as I have a rooted distrust of 
change of plan at the last minute. The Tana valley is notoriously 
unhealthy, and we missed the march across the Borana country, 
west of the Juba. The steamer did not call at Kismayu, but 
kept southward until, on the morning of 21st November, we 


sighted the sandhills of Sheila at the entrance to the harbour 
of Lamu. The Malda anchored a couple of miles from the 
shore to wait for the turn of the tide. The mails were sent ashore 
at once, and our chief went ashore with them to arrange for 
the disembarkation of the stores. He asked me to accompany 
him, and Mr. Piggott came with us and introduced us to 
Mr. Rogers, the superintendent of the district, his assistant, Mr. 
Macquarie, and Mr. Bird Thompson, the officer in command of 
the Indian troops at Witu, who was then staying at Lamu. 
The Malda entered the port in the evening, as the captain 
thought it prudent to wait till high tide before he threaded the 
channels between the reefs which constitute the harbour bar. 

First thing next morning we set to work to unload the 300 
tons of stores. The Somali worked well, with great energy 
and much noise ; but their muscles proved weaker than their 
will or their voice. The Turks, on the other hand, were quiet 
and sluggish but immensely strong, and most of the heavy 
work had to be left to them. The Somali, however, made up 
in numbers and enthusiasm for their individual weakness, so 
between the two contingents of men the transhipment of the 
goods into dhows was finished early in the afternoon. We said 
farewell to our kind friends on board the Malda, and followed 
the men ashore. We landed close by the custom-house ; the 
men paraded in the square in front of the old Portuguese fort 
(see PI. II.), and then, under the guidance of one of Mr. 
Rogers's Askari, marched to a cocoa-nut grove about a mile 
to the west of the town. There camp was pitched around a 
bungalow in a hollow in the sandhills, near some brackish wells 
upon the shore. During the morning the Juba, a small steamer 
belonging to the Sultan of Zanzibar, called in on its way to 
Kismayu. So our chief seized the opportunity, and hastily 
made an agreement with one of the leading Hindu traders of 
Lamu for the supply of 1 1 o camels and 40 donkeys. The 
trader's agent left at once in the Juba to purchase them. The 
price agreed on was a very high one. But the contract stipu- 
lated that they were all to be delivered in Lamu in a month's 
time, and it was verbally promised that they should be landed 
in three weeks. 

As we could not move from the coast until the camels came, 
we settled in camp to prepare the equipment, drill the men, and 



*'iiii,^|» i.y 


(With Silk-Cotton 'I'REii.) 

Past- 14. 

ON LA Af U IS LA ND 1 5 

repack the loads. In the intervals we made excursions through 
the plantations inland, or across the harbour to the island of 
Maiida, During the heat of the day we rambled about the 
cool, narrow, tortuous streets and tunnel-like passages of the 
historic old town of Lamu. 

The island consists of a scries of sandhills overlying raised 
coral reefs. The dunes are covered with groves of cocoa-nut 
palms, with here and there a date-palm. In the hollows be- 
tween the hills are massive, shady mango-trees and orchards of 
cashew-nut, surrounded by hedges of prickly Euphorbias, full of 
acrid juice. Beside the backwaters from the harbour stand 
clumps of screw-pine (^Pandanus), and on the headlands wave 
the graceful feathery she- oaks {Casuarina), while the muddy 
shores are lined with dense thickets of mangrove. Whatever 
time I could spare from camp work was devoted to excursions 
in the woods and plantations, chasing shore crabs on the beach, 
dragging for algae in the estuary, and revelling in the delight 
of a first experience of Nature in the tropics. In addition to 
the other charms of the place, the climate seemed salubrious : 
the air was dry, and a cool bracing breeze blew daily from the 
sea. A week thus passed very pleasantly. Then our chief 
suddenly decided that some of us had better move to the main- 
land, so on 30th November Benett-Stanford and Tichborne, 
with most of the men, started in dhows to form a camp at the 
head of the creek of Mkonumbi. The chief and I remained a 
few days later to ship the rest of the stores and men. This 
was accomplished by the aid of the " chain gang," a very useful 
local institution, the services of which were lent to us by our 
kind friend Mr. Rogers. The sturdy Suahili easily carried off 
heavy boxes of ammunition which several of the Somali could 
barely lift. When the last of the loads and men were on the 
dhows, we returned to Lamu. We said good-bye to Mr. Rogers, 
to whose hospitality and help we were so much indebted, and 
then followed the others in the Company's launch to Mkonumbi. 
Wc found a comfortable camp had been pitched around some 
mango-trees, surrounded by a strong thorn zeriba or " boma." 
Here the organisation of the caravan and preparations for the 
march inland were busily pushed forward. 

It may be advisable here to state the composition and objects 
of the expedition. It had been organised in order to explore 


in the less-known regions of British East Africa, by four EngHsh 
sportsmen, namely, by our chief, together with Sir Henry Tich- 
borne, Mr. W. H. Harris, and Mr. J. Benett-Stanford, late of the 
Royal Dragoons. Dr. A. D. Mackinnon, who had seen much 
experience in British East Africa, and who had accompanied 
Mr. Jackson's caravan to Uganda, was the doctor ; a better man 
for the post could not have been found. Count Lovatelli (who 
subsequently distinguished himself by his courageous rescue of 
Mr. Tod in the fighting with the Somali at Kismayu) went 
with us by an arrangement between our chief and the Italian 
authorities ; and my services, as a naturalist, had been lent to 
the chief of the expedition by the Trustees of the British Museum. 
Sir Henry Tichborne was accompanied by his valet Gleave. 

As a private expedition its scale was very extensive. It 
comprised 8 Europeans and over 300 natives, while a power- 
ful baggage train had been arranged for. It had been hoped 
that the Egyptian Government would have lent 70 of its 
Soudanese troops to the expedition, but as the negotiations for 
this fell through, the chief defence of the caravan was entrusted 
to 150 Aden Somali. It was not thought advisable to rely 
entirely on these very excitable people, so ten stolid, imperturb- 
able Turks had been engaged to act as crew of the Maxim gun. 
In case this jammed, we knew we could rely on them to stand 
their ground, while it was being again prepared for action. We 
were to pass near some of the so-called " sacred cities " of the 
Somali country, where it was thought possible that a " holy 
war " might be preached against us, and the Somali escort 
refuse to fight. So to prevent the expedition being dependent 
on any one set of men, an Abyssinian contingent was also 
engaged. As these were nearly all Christians, their nominal 
Christianity would, we hoped, ensure their constancy in case 
of any quarrel with the Somali. They were also engaged to 
act as porters as well as soldiers ; and further to supplement the 
camel transport, 80 Zanzibar! had been enlisted by the British 
East Africa Company at Mombasa. 

The goal of the expedition was Basso Narok or Lake 
Rudolf, which had previously been visited by one expedi- 
tion only, that of Count Teleki in 1888-89. ^^ ^^^ hoped 
to explore the western shore of the lake and follow up the two 
rivers that flow into its northern end. It was intended also to 


traverse the country of the Borana Galla and return by a long 
march across the head waters of the Juba to the coast opposite 
Aden. We thus hoped to run two Hnes across the biggest 
blank still left in the map of Africa. The caravan had been 
armed and equipped regardless of expense. We had with us 
a Maxim gun, 250 Sniders, 30,000 cartridges for the former, 
and 100,000 for the latter. We therefore felt on landing that, 
whether we succeeded in the accomplishment of all our plans or 
not, we were not likely to turn back without a long and deter- 
mined struggle. 

At this time our forces were divided. The Abyssinians 
were not ready when we left Aden ; Harris and Mackinnon 
therefore stayed behind to take them on to Zanzibar in the 
French mail. Thence they were to cross to Mombasa, collect 
the Zanzibar!, and march north to join us wherever our chief 

Thus at the beginning of December there were 6 Euro- 
peans, 150 Somali, 10 Turks, and all the stores in camp at 
Mkonumbi. Harris and Mackinnon were coming up from the 
south with 70 Abyssinians and 80 Zanzibari. A telegram was 
sent to them to land at Melindi on the south side of the Sabaki, 
and thence march overland to join the rest of us on the banks of 
the Tana. The camels were due to arrive by the 22nd December, 
and we continued the work of packing and overhauling stores, 
drilling the men, and preparing equipment, so as to be ready 
to march as soon as the transport animals should arrive. It 
was not long before the minor troubles of African travel began 
to worry us. Stores had been badly packed, and a great mis- 
take had been made in buying the rice and dates in London 
instead of in Aden. We soon learnt to appreciate the wisdom 
of the Suahili proverb — 

" Fulani amerudisha tende Manga" 
(He has sent back dates to Arabia). 

Our men would not take the rice, so 20 tons of it were sold, 
and the rest exchanged at a heavy loss. The cooking -pots 
proved useless and a source of danger to the men. The tents 
were unsuitable for the work ; and two of them were missing, 
as well as other indispensable articles. Our men, moreover, 
proved incapable, lazy, and troublesome. We had to show 



them everything ; all they seemed able to do on their own 
initiative was to loot in the neighbourhood and quarrel among 
themselves. Soon we had complaints from the chiefs of the 
neighbouring villages about the misdeeds of the Somali. When, 
a few days after we had landed, the rains began, we made the 
still more alarming discovery that the men had very frail con- 
stitutions. After every storm of rain, twenty or thirty of the 
Somali would be prostrated with fever. The condition of several 
of the men soon became so serious, that it was only owing to 
the unremitting care of Benett-Stanford that they were kept alive. 
Gleave was also taken ill, and caused us great anxiety. It was 
decided that, as thirty-three camels and several donkeys had been 
landed, and as a number of local Suahili porters had been hired, 
Sir Henry Tichborne and I should make a night march to Witu 
to try and persuade Dr. Rae to go to the rescue. I packed up 
my collections, my reserve luggage, and some manuscripts at 
which I had been at work during the voyage out, and left them 
to be returned to Aden. This, however, was the last I ever 
saw of them. 

The night, however, was so cloudy that at first it appeared 
doubtful whether we could go, but at ten o'clock the moon 
broke through the clouds, and the order was given to the men 
to get ready. The Somali at first refused to go, and before 
they were persuaded to do so the clouds had again hidden the 
moon. In darkness, broken only by the fire-flies, on the night 
of the 14th December, we stumbled across the plain and 
through the swamps of Mkonumbi, in what we fondly imagined 
was the first march to " Lake Rudolf." After daybreak I 
hurried forward to Witu to arrange accommodation for the men, 
and as the late Dr. Rae kindly ordered the chain-gaiig to clean 
an empty hut, it was ready for them when they arrived, 
exhausted by the long night march. 

The late Bird Thompson soon came in from the morning 
drill of the Indian troops, and received us with his usual 
kindness ; Tichborne described the sorry plight of our men, 
and Dr. Rae, though very unwell, started off for Mkonumbi 
in the evening. 

In the afternoon Thompson took me for a walk through 
the town, showed me the ruins of the Sultan's palace (PI. III.) 
and some of the wells, and told me its history. Witu was 

< - 







at one time the " Cave of Adullam " of Eastern Equatorial 
Africa, and thither flocked the worst of the runaway slaves, the 
debtors, and the scum of the mongrel populations of the coast 
towns. Under that leading scoundrel, the " Sultan of Witu," 
they defied authority and tyrannised over the surrounding 
country. The suppression of this nest of thieves was absolutely 
essential to any peace or stability in the district. But Witu 
was a strong town ; the approaches to it were unhealthy, and 
the Sultan could bring 1000 guns into the field. It might 
therefore have been long allowed to harbour its gang of ruffians 
and freebooters, but for the massacre of a party of nine Germans 
who visited the town in 1890, soon after the cession of the 
Witu district by Germany to England in exchange for Heligo- 
land. Being thus responsible for the good order of the country, 
our government sent out a naval brigade, which easily defeated 
the attack made on it by the Witu army, commanded by my 
friend the Omari Mahdi. The town was shelled, and was set 
on fire by a war rocket, which knocked a hole through a 
great tree that stands beside the present entrance to the town. 
The rebels withdrew into the forests inland, where they have 
kept up a guerilla warfare ever since. Supplementary expedi- 
tions have driven them from their settlements at Pumwani 
and Jongeni, while Witu has been held by a garrison of Sepoys 
and connected with the coast by a road and telephone. 

The latter had temporarily broken down, but communication 
by it was resumed the day after our arrival, and the late Mr. 
Bell Smith, the superintendent of the Melindi district, told us 
that Harris and Mackinnon had landed with 145 men, and 
would be at Ngatana on Christmas Eve. The plan at this 
time was for all the reserve food of the expedition and most of 
the heavy stores to be sent by sea in dhows to Kau, a town at 
the head of the estuary of the Ozi ; they were there to be 
transhipped into canoes, which were to carry them through the 
Belezoni Canal (p. 31) to the Tana, and up this river to 
Ngatana. The whole expedition was to assemble at this point, 
and from it the real start was to be made. The Abyssinians 
and Zanzibari were to reach Ngatana by marching up the right 
or western bank of the Tana, and they were due there on 
24th December. The baggage animals, the Somali, and the 
Turks were to proceed via Witu and the left bank of the river. 


If the camels were landed by the date fixed in the contract, 
there was no reason why New Year's Day should not find us 
all in camp at Ngatana, ready to begin the march up the Tana 
valley by the end of the first week in January. 

Unfortunately no reliable calculation had been made of the 
relation between weight of stores and means of transport at 
each point. All our food and loads were stacked at two 
different places, while our porters were foodless and idle at a 

It was necessary that food should be taken to our Southern 
division, because the men had only sufficient to last till they 
reached the Tana at a station called Borabini, two days' march 
from the coast. 

Tichborne and I accordingly started to Kau with some 
porters and donkeys laden with rice. On arriving there, 
however, we found that the dhow had not come from Lamu, 
and the canoes had not been collected to carry our goods up 
the Tana. With this not very pleasant news Tichborne 
returned to Witu, while I stayed at Kau to get canoes and 
take the food on to Harris. 

As I could not start next day, I went down the estuary 
to the port of Kipini at the mouth of the river, to see if the 
dhow was there. There was no news of it, but the excursion 
was repaid by my shooting two hippopotami, seeing my first 
crocodiles, examining some coral reefs, and visiting some ex- 
tensive cotton plantations and the tomb of the giant Fumo 
Liongwe, one of the best known characters in Suahili folklore. 

The Somali left at Kau had a less pleasant day, and on 
my return demanded permission to go back at once to Witu, 
as the mosquitoes rendered their lives unbearable. These 
insects were certainly troublesome, though by sitting in the 
smoke of a fire one could keep them off; but the Somali said 
this remedy was as bad as the disease. 

Sufficient canoes came to Kau next morning, and I pre- 
pared at once to start for the Tana. But just as they were 
being loaded, a letter arrived giving me a startling change of 
orders. The letter said that other arrangements had been 
made for the transport of food to Harris's party, and that I 
was to return at once to Witu. There I was to meet an 
advance guard that was being hastened up from a camp that 


had been formed at Fungozambo. I was to go on with them 
to Ngatana, at once and by forced marches, select the best site 
I could find for a camp beside the river, build a " boma," or thorn 
stockade, 50 yards square, and open up communications with 
Harris's force. My party would be lightly loaded, but it would 
be followed in two days by another under Count Lovatelli, who 
would bring me a tent, food, and medical stores. 

At ten o'clock I was back in Witu, ready to march for 
Ngatana ; but the men from Fungozambo were not there. 
I therefore went to sleep, to be ready, if necessary, for a night 
march. Thompson woke me about mid-day to complain of 
the behaviour of our men, who were seriously disturbing the 
peace of the town. A stormy interview between Tichborne 
and myself on one side, and the men on the other, seemed to 
quiet matters, and they promised to behave better. 

At two o'clock next morning I was roused by a messenger 
from the coast, who brought word that more deaths had 
occurred and that our chief was ill. Dr. Rae was earnestly 
requested to return. The doctor was himself suffering from 
fever, but so urgent was the summons that he went. I was 
concerned about him, and accompanied him the first seven 
miles. On the way I made an annoying discovery. There 
were no preparations for firing the belt of forest at Pangani 
through which the road passes, and which is the haunt of the 
tsetse-fly {Glossina inorsitans, Westw.) On the journey through 
it on our way up, I had found this dreaded fly. To expose our 
camels to an attack from it was to risk the whole safety of 
the caravan ; I had therefore sent back a note to say that before 
the baggage animals entered this belt of forest, fires ought to be 
lighted in it and the animals driven through the smoke. This is 
the method commonly used to protect animals when passing 
through a fly-haunted district. I found out afterwards that 
the Galla in the Tana valley know all the fly-infested patches, 
and always adopt this precaution when driving their cattle 
through them. 

As Dr. Rae seemed better, he went on with two men and 
I stopped there to prepare the fires, sending on a note urging 
that these should be lighted half an hour before the camels were 
allowed to enter the forest. The rest of the day was spent in 
building up stacks of wood and dead leaves ; these were 


arranged as far as possible on the model of the " smudge-fires " 
used in Manitoba to protect the wheat from the early frosts of 
August, by raising a cloud of smoke above the fields. 

For some time our men had been growing more and more 
discontented and disrespectful, and next day this broke out 
into open mutiny. To stop their depredations in the town, they 
had been ordered not to leave their hut without permission. 
Nevertheless, during the morning Thompson's Pokomo boy 
came rushing in to say that the Somali had gone into the town 
and that they were fighting the Sepoys, I seized my revolver 
and a stick, and ran as quickly as I could to the scene of 
action. The Somali had no chance against the Sikhs ; one of 
them had been taken prisoner and the others were trying to 
rescue him. Failing to do so, they rushed back to their hut 
shouting " bundook " (guns). 

I told the Sepoys to take their prisoner into the canton- 
ments and then ran back after the Somali, arriving at their hut 
just as one of them was coming out rifle in hand, pushing a 
cartridge into the breech. I ran against him and bumped 
him back into the hut and mounted guard over the door. The 
Sepoys stood to arms and the Jemadar sent a messenger for 
Thompson, while an armed patrol of twenty men marched 
ostentatiously past the hut. The Somali declared that the 
Sepoys were killing their brother and that they must go and 
rescue him, but I refused to let them out. When Thompson 
arrived things had quieted down a little, and the Somali gave 
up their ammunition when ordered to do so. 

Tichborne and I then had a " shauri " or conference with 
our men, who said that unless their brother was immediately 
released, they would return at once to the coast. They 
demanded that their ammunition should be given back to 
them, which was of course refused. Tichborne hurled at them 
all the Hindustani bad language that he had acquired during 
his various Indian shooting expeditions, and the men reiterated 
their demand for the release of their comrade and the return of 
their ammunition. Tichborne and the Somali kept this up till 
their throats were sore and we were tired of standing in the 
sun. The shauri ultimately broke up without any agreement 
being arrived at, so a Sepoy guard was kept on duty in an 
adjoining hut. 


Later in the same day an explanation of our men's action 
was furnished by the arrival of the headman and some of the 
elders of the village of Fungozambo. They complained that 
they were being robbed and murdered by our men, over whom 
they said the European in command had no control ; the 
Somali had looted the village, stolen all the " kuku " (fowls) and 
bed-cushions from the houses, and flogged the natives, who had 
now fled to the woods. We found out afterwards that these 
charges were substantially correct. For as soon as Benett- 
Stanford had left Fungozambo, the men informed Count 
Lovatelli that they were not going to obey him, as they had 
been told by the chief at the coast they were to take orders 
from no one but himself ; so they were doing what was right in 
their own eyes. Thompson was very angry, and told us that 
he had ordered his men to parade at four o'clock next morning ; 
he was then going to serve out eighty rounds of ammunition 
and march down to our camp. He was determined to put a 
stop to these lawless proceedings by whatever means he found 
necessary. He said, however, that if I could get to the camp 
before him and restore peace, so much the better for everybody. 
I had my dinner, mounted a donkey, and rode off for Fungo- 
zambo. About ten o'clock my donkey suddenly pricked up its 
ears and sprang from the path, and then, as I held it in, stood 
trembling in every limb. My boy said " Libah " (lion), so I 
fired several shots from my revolver into the air, the boy fired 
the Snider, and we stood waiting for something to happen. 
The donkey gradually recovered from its fright and we led it 
along the path, but it was so terrified that I could not ride it 
for some time. I heard afterwards from Thompson that the 
natives say there are lions at this place, and they will never pass 
it alone in the dark ; it is probable that the donkey detected a 
lion, although neither I nor the boy heard anything. 

A little after midnight we reached the camp. Benett- 
Stanford, Dr. Rae, and Gleave had arrived from the coast just 
before us, and our headman, Wasama, came in a few minutes 
later. They had been recalled to suppress the mutiny. We 
slanged the Somali vigorously. Wasama's language was 
moving. For some years he had been an interpreter on a man- 
of-war ; his knowledge of our language was extensive and 
peculiar ; his fo'castle English now rang through the camp 


like a recitation from a slang dictionary. For variety of epithet, 
power of expletive, and range of religions whose deities were 
invoked, I doubt whether his speech could have been strengthened 
by a committee of Colorado cowboys. Benett-Stanford let his 
corner of the camp know how the Royal Dragoons drill an 
awkward squad. Seeing the admirable effect of this powerful 
English, I tried a mild imitation of it on the group of men to 
which I directed my attention. Feeble though my efforts were, 
I fear my language on that occasion would have done more 
credit to a connection with Billingsgate than with the British 
Museum. The men were startled by our midnight arrival, and 
seeing that we meant business they became very respectful and 
promised implicit obedience. They swore that they had not in 
any way interfered with the villagers, but as some of them were 
wrapped in Suahili " mikeka " (sleeping -mats), and some were 
using the native wooden head-rests or " misamilo," we had no 
trouble in demonstrating the falseness of this statement. 

Benett-Stanford and I had a long chat over the position of 
affairs, which was now rather serious. It was clear that if 
Harris reached Ngatana, as arranged, on Christmas Eve and 
found no food there, he would have trouble with his men. 
Everybody had warned us that if the Zanzibari did not get 
their rations they would desert. We knew he had left Melindi 
on the 1 7th December, and that he was determined to push on 
quickly. It was only six marches to Ngatana, so he could 
easily arrive there by the date appointed. This was now the 
morning of the 22nd ; Ngatana was four days distant, but by 
hard marching it could be reached in three. So it was decided 
that I should get together a few camels and hurry on at once, 
and thus carry out the orders sent by our leader. Benett- 
Stanford kindly set about the preparation of the stores ; while 
I, having dispossessed one of the thieves of a stolen sleeping- 
mat, snatched a couple of hours of welcome sleep. 

At four o'clock Gleave woke me for breakfast : seven camels 
and twelve men under Sergeant Yussuf were ready. I was to 
leave most of these men at Witu and replace them by the most 
troublesome of the Somali there, as we were anxious that they 
should inflict no further annoyance on our kind hosts. 

After a hurried meal we marched out of camp and stumbled 
along the track in the dark. We reached the forest shortly 


after daybreak, lighted the smudge-fires, and drove the camels 
through the smoke. The Somali could not quite understand 
this proceeding ; they regarded it as a religious rite, and told 
me afterwards that they did not know that Christians worshipped 
fire. When I explained that it was to keep off the flies, they 
were delighted and said we English were " herribleh " (wise). 
We reached Witu early in the afternoon, but did not stay there, 
for as it is surrounded by forest we feared the dreaded tsetse-fly 
might occur there. So the camels were driven a mile to the 
south, and camp was pitched beside a deserted Galla village, on 
the hill from which the English guns shelled the town in 1890. 
The Somali were told to be ready to start at daybreak, and from 
the manner in which some of them received the order, we all 
went to bed expecting another row in the morning. 



" We eat our proper rations 
In spite of inundations, 
Malarial exhalations, 
And casual starvations." 


WiTU is the farthest outpost of civilisation in the Tana valley, 
and here we expected to begin regular " safari " or caravan life, 
and to say farewell to Europeans for the last time until we 
reached the Somali coast opposite Aden. My pleasure at 
getting away from the coast lands and starting for the " barra " 
was, however, lessened by my regret at parting from Bird 
Thompson.^ He took a keener interest in the natives, he 
understood their point of view better, he knew more about their 
habits and beliefs, and was more popular amongst them, than 
any other man I met in Africa. To his advice I owe more than 
can easily be expressed. With his usual readiness to help us, 
he came over to camp to superintend our start. The Somali 
stood in awe of him, and so the camels were promptly loaded 
and we got away without a word of complaint. 

We marched for four hours and then rested beside a small 
brackish lake, which must be the source of the Magogoni, the 
river which joins the Ozi at Kau. The acacias here were often 
pink, owing to the growth upon them of a species of Lorantkus, 
a parasitic plant allied to the mistletoe. 

At three in the afternoon we resumed our march, and left 
the woods of Hyphaene palms and entered the " barra " or 
open grassy plains beside the Tana. We crossed a dry channel 

^ He died off Teneriffe during the voyage home in February 1895. 


through which the river flowed a couple of generations ago, and 
camped upon the plain beside a water-hole in this channel. 
A lion came roaring round the camp at night, but it was too 
dark to hope for a shot ; and knowing that roaring lions do not 
fight, it did not disturb my rest. A more serious annoyance 
was the loss of a young wild cat or Serval, which I had 
purchased in Witu and was trying to tame. It was a most 
ferocious little brute, only twice the size of a kitten of the same 
age, but with temper enough for fifty. It bit and scratched like 
a fury. This did not hurt me, for my leggings were thick ; but 
the men's legs were bare, and they did not like the animal. 
They declared it would grow into a tiger, and begged me to 
kill it. As I would not do so, I believe they let it escape on 

At daybreak next morning we resumed our march across 
the plain. There was a good deal of game, but we could not 
stop to shoot. I almost tumbled on to three black buffalo, 
which fled before I could snatch a rifle from the men. I gave 
chase at their request, but fortunately did not come up with 
the animals. Life is too good to be thrown away by shooting 
at buffalo with a Snider. During the heat of midday we 
rested for a couple of hours by some Borassus or Palmyra 
palms {Borassus flabelliformis). Our rest was cut short by a 
threatening storm, which caught us on the march ; the rain 
was heavier than I had ever experienced, and fell on us like a 
waterspout. To face it was impossible, so we crouched behind 
the camels to get what little shelter these gave. When the rain 
was at its worst we could not see five yards along the line. 
The storm travelled from north to south, down the valley, 
extending for about two miles in width, and turning the whole 
of the belt it traversed into a swamp. The men said the 
camels could not go through it and we must camp where we 
were. However, we were due at Ngatana that night, so I could 
not consent to this delay, and we pushed ahead through the 
swamp and slush. 

As we approached the Tana the grass became higher and 
denser, and we had hard work in forcing a way through it. 
At length we reached the banks of the river and struck a native 
track, which we followed through the woods until we emerged 
into a clearing opposite the village of Vuju. It was dark when 


we arrived there, so it was hopeless to try and find Harris's 
party that day ; but we had reached the trysting- place in 

The ground was so swampy that we could not light a 
fire or cook any food. As the expedition only provided three 
tents for eight Europeans, I had had to start without one. It 
poured with rain all night, so we all, men, camels, and donkeys, 
huddled together as closely as we could. I fixed my ground 
sheet like an umbrella on a pole above me, to keep off the 
rain, but it was not much of a success. Even the camels 
seemed to despise it, for they twice deliberately kicked it 

Thus supperless and sleepless we spent Christmas Eve. 
The rain stopped for a while towards morning, but a dense 
mist hung over the country and buried everything in its cold 
malarial pall. At ten o'clock the mist lifted sufficiently to show 
us the opposite bank of the river, where we descried two natives 
hiding in the reeds. We shouted " Yambo " to them, and told 
them that a friend of Bwana Kilemba {i.e. Bird Thompson) 
wanted to see their chief. 

They went away with the message, and returning some 
hours later took me across the river in a dug-out canoe, to have 
a conference with a large party of Wa-pokomo on the opposite 
bank. They were very much afraid of the Somali, so I went 
alone. We could not talk, but I smiled and nodded, and this 
seemed to allay their suspicions. They allowed me then to 
send back for an interpreter, and when he came I asked where 
were the two white men and their large party of Zanzibari ? 
The chief told me that they had not come anywhere near this 
district ; so he gave me a couple of guides to accompany a 
Somali whom I sent off at once with a letter to Harris and 
Mackinnon, in the hope that he would meet them on the road. 
The Wa-pokomo again landed me on the other side, and after 
giving me some unripe bananas, went away. It soon began to 
rain again, but we had got some dry wood from the natives and 
were able to light a fire. I had my Christmas dinner of Indian 
corn, tinned beef, and baked bananas. The rain increased in 
strength until it put out our fire, and this night was even less 
pleasant than the last, for anxiety about the non-arrival of 
Harris's force was added to the discomfort of the wet and cold. 


Next day I sent some of the men with the camels and 
donkeys back to Witu and crossed with the remainder to the 
other side of the river, so as to be able to keep a better watch 
for Harris's force. But the men did not start without a row. 
When I told Jarma that he was to be one of those to return 
with the camels, he refused to do so. He said that he had 
been told by the chief to obey the orders of no one but him- 
self, and that he had only told him to come to Ngatana. He 
was therefore going to stay where he was, until he had orders 
from the chief to go elsewhere. Before he knew what I was 
doing I had seized his rifle and ammunition. I had him 
arrested and tied to a tree. The other Somali asked what I 
was going to do with him. " Flog him, of course," I replied. 
At once there was a hubbub in camp. The men threw down 
their guns and danced about in the wild, noisy, excitable way 
to which I had now become accustomed. " Kowadku, labadku, 
sadehadku " (By the first, by the second, by the third), they 
shouted. " You cannot flog a Somali. You may flog a 
Pokomo ; you may flog a Zanzibari ; you may flog an 
Habeshi (Abyssinian) ; but you cannot flog a free Somali." 
They were simply told to wait for a few minutes and see. There 
were some Wa-pokomo at the other end of the village, watch- 
ing us and wondering what the excitement was all about. I 
called one of them and told him he was to flog the Somali. 
This was adding insult to injury, for the Somali hold the 
Wa-pokomo as their slaves. There was therefore another 
outburst of " Kowadku, labadku, etc.," but it made no impres- 
sion. I was resolved that the man should be flogged. It was 
not till Jarma, seeing I was in earnest, began to whine and 
promise to do anything I told him, if I would only let him off, 
and when I reflected that striking a Somali meant starting 
a blood feud, that I decided it was useless proceeding to 
extremities, as the man was thoroughly cowed. I had him 
untied, returned him his rifle but not his ammunition, and he 
started back with the others without a murmur. Our head- 
man subsequently told me that this Jarma was a hopelessly 
bad character, and that he had tried in Aden to persuade our 
chief not to take him, as he would be sure to give us trouble. 
However, I had no more bother with him after this. 

The camels and the other men returned, leaving me with 


only eight men ; they were so exhausted by exposure that it 
would not have been fair to set them to work at once on the 
erection of a boma. So we waited, keeping watch on one side 
of the river for the reinforcements and stores which it had been 
promised should follow at once, and on the other side for the 
Southern division of the expedition. 

On the 27th my messenger returned with a letter from 
Harris, stating that his men were all at Borabini, a mission- 
station some miles down the river, where they were blocked by 
floods. He was in urgent need of food for his men, as the 
stores sent by our chief had been wrongly addressed and had 
failed to reach him. It was obvious from this that they 
were not coming up the river at present. This placed me in 
rather a difficulty. We were being watched by the spies of the 
rebel chief, Fumo Omari, who was anxious to capture our 
cartridges, sixty thousand of which were being sent up the 
Tana in canoes. It appeared to me highly probable that if 
this bait were offered to the rebels they would strike for it, 
and I could not hope to resist their attack with my present 
force ; I therefore engaged a mau, loaded it with sacks of 
rice for Harris's men, and rushed down the river to meet the 

A long day's canoe journey took me to the German 
Lutheran mission -station at Ngao, then under the charge of 
Herr Beking, who told me a pathetic story of its past history. 

After much trouble the missionaries had succeeded in gain- 
ing leave to settle there. A house was then erected on a spur 
on the left bank of the river, to be destroyed in one night by a 
flood which simply swept away the whole site of the station. 
A better locality was chosen on the right bank, and the 
missionaries set to work to rebuild the house. Then Frau 
Beking died. The station was finished ; and shortly after- 
wards the Witu rebellion broke out, when the missionaries had 
to fly to the coast to save their lives. The buildings were 
burnt down and the plantations devastated. With splendid 
patience the station had been rebuilt for the third time, but 
Herr Beking said he did not know how long it would last. 
He told me the people were then all anxious to turn Christians, 
but from purely political motives. They said they were now 
European subjects and they must learn the European religion. 


The missionaries were striving to take advantage of this open- 
ing, and were teaching the natives blacksmith's work, carpentry, 
reading, writing, and better methods of agriculture. 

After leaving Ngao I reached Borabini or Golbanti, where 
I found Dr. Mackinnon staying in the mission - house as 
the guest of the Rev. Mr. Edmonds. Harris had left that 
morning for Witu, while the flotilla of maus, bringing up 
the ammunition, arrived in the evening. At my request the 
cartridges were landed and stored in the mission-house, and 
the canoes sent back for goods which would be a less tempting 
bait to the rebels. The mission-station was a strong stone 
building surrounded by a powerful stockade ; the house was 
provided with an iron roof so that it could not be set on fire, 
the windows were protected by iron shutters, and the walls were 
loopholed. A stand of arms also showed that the Methodist 
Missionary Society does not belong to the peace-at-any-price 
party. These precautions, however, are necessary, for the founder 
of the station and his wife were both massacred by Masai.^ 
The mission-station is now so well fortified that our 61,000 
cartridges were quite safe, the more so as the garrison was 
reinforced by 150 of our own men. 

I spent a most interesting evening with Dr. Mackinnon and 
Mr. Edmonds, neither of whom had I previously seen, and next 
day continued the journey down the Tana. The country became 
one vast swamp, and sank below the level of the river. The 
water was pouring through the banks by numerous gaps, natural 
and artificial, and was thus irrigating the rice-fields on either 
side. Some of these had been already sufficiently flooded ; so 
the water had been cut off, and the ground was green with the 
young rice shoots. At two o'clock we reached Charra, a group 
of huts beside a grove of cocoa-nut palms, the farthest point 
from the sea at which they occur in this district. Here we left 
the Tana and entered the Belezoni Canal. This is a narrow 
ditch connecting the Tana and the Ozi. The mouth of the 
former river is closed by a bar, so that dhows cannot enter it 
except with great difficulty and at certain states of the tide. 
The Tana runs actually parallel to the sea, which is at a dis- 
tance of only a few hundred yards ; yet the river flows on for 
some miles before it succeeds in bursting through the sand- 

^ This incident is referred to in Rider Haggard's Allan Qiiatermain. 


dunes which separate it from the ocean. Its mouth, moreover, 
is continually being silted up by the tide, and reopened on new 
lines by freshets. The sandbanks, therefore, constantly shift 
their position in the struggle between the waters of the river 
and of the sea. 

All this renders the mouth of the Tana very difficult of 
navigation. The Ozi, on the other hand, has a fine broad open 
estuary, and the water over the bar at its mouth is usually deep 
enough to be crossed by the shallow draught dhows that do 
most of the coasting trade. In order that the Ozi might 
become the port of the Tana, the rivers were connected by 
a canal ; this was cut by forced Pokomo labour under the 
direction of Sultan Hamad, the great-grandfather of the present 
chief of the Witu rebels. The channel was originally lo feet 
wide and 6 feet deep, but it is now much less. 

Owing to the high level of the Tana a powerful torrent poured 
along the canal from that river to the Ozi ; the two canoemen had 
only to push aside the stems of the water plants and the current 
carried us along. As we swept through the rushes we raised 
crowds of mosquitoes, which had their revenge for being dis- 
turbed in their afternoon nap. So we were not sorry when, 
after a passage of three-quarters of an hour, the canoe shot out 
into the quiet waters of the Ozi. At six o'clock I reached 
Kau, where my old friend Suleiman the Akida, or headman of 
the town, urged me to stay the night. We had a chat, but, as 
usual, neither of us understood what the other was saying. He 
showed me a paper which he said was a testimonial or " chit " 
given him by the superintendent of the district. It was, however, 
a letter from Mr. Rogers to one of the members of the Borabini 
Mission ; but as it referred to matters then of ancient history, 
I did not destroy the Arab's faith in the value of his treasure. 

The Akida provided me with a man to ferry me across the 
Kirimanda, a river that had to be crossed on the way, and also 
with two Arab soldiers or " Kiroboto " as an escort against 
lions. One of them was armed with a picturesque sword, and the 
other with a rusty muzzle-loader. They scornfully refused to 
carry my mackintosh or satchel, so that they were useless ; and 
as the gunner would occasionally point his gun at me, I was 
more afraid of him than of all the lions in the district. 

Tichborne, Harris, Lovatelli and Gleave were all in Witu. 


From their accounts the whole expedition seemed to have 
drifted into confusion and disorder. The next morning news 
came up from Lamu that a dhow, which was bringing forty-six 
of our camels from the Somali coast, had been wrecked on a 
coral reef ; this seemed for a moment the deathblow to the 
expedition. On thinking the matter over, however, it was 
quite clear that the story was untrue, for no dhow on the coast 
could carry so many camels. A general consultation was held, 
and it was decided that a determined effort should be made to 
get all the stores and men to Ngatana as quickly as possible. 

I accordingly started back to Borabini to hurry the porters 
up to Witu, and to arrange for the flotilla of maus to continue 
carrying the goods to Ngatana. A native guide was engaged 
at the preposterously high price of eight rupees, from whom I 
learnt that among the Suahili the only essential in a guide is 
ability to ask the way. As we met no one, this power was not 
very useful, and we lost our way. We spent from eleven till 
half-past three wading through a dismal swamp with the water 
always up to our waists, and frequently to our shoulders. We 
left the swamp less than three hundred yards from where we 
had entered it, and then plunged into a jungle of grass and 
rushes, i 2 feet in height, in which the guide again lost himself, 
and I took the lead. We found the Galla village of Dibbe at 
sunset, but the natives would not enter the Pokomo district in 
the dark, so we tried to find our way by ourselves. We lost 
the path, found an unrecorded lake known as Somite, and 
finally, by accident, stumbled on another Galla village. 

I was now dead tired, and, though the guide begged 
me not to stop the night in this village, declined to go any 
farther. A Galla lent me some skins in which I wrapped 
myself. The Galla, however, have rather a bad character, 
so I slept with one eye watching my sullen host. He could 
not give me anything to eat, so I started off at dawn and soon 
reached the river. Some Pokomo fishermen ferried me across, 
and pointed out the smoke of the fires of Ngao. I arrived 
there just in time for breakfast, and was very glad to get it, as 
my one frugal meal of the day before had been my only food 
for thirty-six hours. 

I had intended to go on to Borabini at once, but Herr 
Wurtz, a colleague of Herr Beking's, who had just returned 



from Lamu, offered to show me his manuscript Ki-Pokomo 
dictionary, and to tell me some of the legends of the people 
about the geographical changes of the Tana valley. This was 
a temptation I could not resist. I spent a most interesting day 
with these hard-working and intelligent missionaries, and then 
went on to Borabini to see Mackinnon. 

Mr. Edmonds, the missionary in charge of the station, 
kindly sent for a Galla elder from the adjoining village, and he 
gave me the Galla version of the stories, which the German 
missionaries had told me according to the Pokomo traditions. 
From this man's information it is clear that great changes in 
the course of the Tana have happened during the last two 

That night we had a scare. We were called up after mid- 
night by the statement that an attack was impending. The 
Galla flocked into the stockade, the Pokomo fled to the swamp, 
and our men stood to arms. The rumour was very precise. 
Twelve shots had been heard up the river. " Was it at Ngao ? " 
we asked. " Very likely." " About an hour ago ? " " Prob- 
ably." Then it was the German Mission welcoming the New 
Year, we concluded, and so went back to bed again. It turned 
out that this was the cause of all the excitement. But that 
innocent little celebration gave several hundred people a miser- 
able night in the rain. 

The next morning I started up stream again for Ngatana. 
The river, however, was in full flood, and progress was very 
slow. A series of heavy rain-storms fell upon us and further 
delayed our journey. We reached Dsundsa, a large Pokomo 
village on the right bank of the river, just after sunset, but thick 
clouds made it so dark that it was impossible to proceed. The 
elder of the village gave me a hut, where I sheltered while 
my garments were being dried by the fire. I had been sitting 
half the day in a pool of water, which the storms had left in 
our canoe. By three in the morning the rain had ceased, the 
clouds had dispersed, and the moonlight was sufficient to enable 
us to continue our voyage. We therefore started up stream 
again, only to be caught, an hour later, in another deluge of 

Shortly after daybreak we lost some time by an incident 
that nearly became an accident. One of the canoemen went 



ashore to try to spear a bird. The bowman happened to drop 
his paddle into the river, and while trying to recover it he lost 
his hold of the bank. The rapid current at once swung the 
canoe out into the stream, and swept us broadside on towards 
some " snags " in a rapid. Fortunately a galvanised iron 
washing basin with which I had been baling was ready to 
hand, and using this as a paddle I managed to steer the canoe 
down the rapids, and then to the bank in the quiet water below 

At the next village I went ashore for some food. A native 
had killed a crocodile the day before, and it was now being 
cooked. The man who killed it was the hero of the village ; 
he looked very happy, for the feat conferred on him the rights 
of manhood, and he could now be married. I made the usual 
sign of hunger, and the kind-hearted natives pressed on me the 
best they could offer. Crocodile intestine cut open and baked 
in the ashes of a wood fire is esteemed the greatest delicacy in 
the Pokomo bill of fare, and a supply of this was at once 
offered me. I pointed to some old Indian corn cobs beside the 
fire, and signed to them that I should prefer some of these. 
The natives appeared a little hurt at my low tastes, and pressed 
the crocodile's guts so warmly upon me that I felt bound to 
accept them, and grin with gratitude, if not with pleasure. 

I gave the people some strings of beads, and returned to 
the mau with my treasure. My canoemen both smacked their 
lips at the prospect of a share in such a feast, and though I 
chewed the cartilage till my jaws ached, the men had a far 
larger share of the spoil than they had expected. 

Late the same afternoon (2nd of January 1893) we reached 
our camp at Vuju in Ngatana, where I found that all was well. 
There was no news from Witu, so I settled down to rest and 
wait, hoping that the tax on my patience would not be a long 
one. We had now spent six dreary weeks on the low coast- 
lands, and I was yearning for the mountains and high plateaux 
of the interior. 



" Wot makes the soldier's 'eart to penk, wot makes 'im to perspire? 
It isn't standin' up to charge, nor lyin' down to fire. 
But it's everlastin' waitin' on a everlastin' road 
For the commissariat camel, an' 'is commissariat load." 


A STARTLED cry of " Webbi ! asan ! dig ! " (River ! red ! 
blood !) roused the camp at dawn next morning. I knew the 
first word meant river, and the last meant blood. I seized my 
revolver and cartridges, crawled through the low doorway of 
the hut, and ran across the village clearing to the river bank. 
I quite thought that Fumo Omari's men were already crossing 
the river, and that our sentry's cry of " Blood " meant that he 
was wounded. The mist hid the opposite shore, and in vain 
I scanned the river for any sign of a foe. The man then 
pointed to the water, and said it had turned to blood. During 
the night an extraordinary change had occurred in it ; instead 
of the usual muddy brown its colour was now a dark blood-red. 
The floods in the upper part of the river must have washed 
into it some material coloured by red oxide of iron, and effected 
this startling change in its hue. " This is a bad river ; we shall 
never go up it ; this is a sign," said my old cook. I said it 
was only the result of " rain-wash," and joked about it, to try 
to prevent the men attaching any importance to the incident. 
But nothing I could say would shake its significance to 

The cook, Hirsi, was by far the oldest man in camp, and 
as such his opinion was always received with respect. My 
assertion that rivers often changed their colour, and that it 


was as natural for them to do so as for mosquitoes to bite, 
was received with incredulity, and with the remark " Hirsi 

The water was now useless either for washing or for cooking, 
and we had to draw our supply from the swamp beside the village. 
This event made a deep impression on the men, who were 
gloomy and depressed for the rest of the day. Many times 
afterwards they reminded me of the incident, and warned me 
of the folly of trying to ascend a river that occasionally changed 
to blood. The last request made to me by the Somali, when 
I parted from them at Mombasa, was to admit that after all 
Hirsi had been right when he interpreted the " fal " or omen 
of the stream. 

The day was not a lucky one, and it was only the 
first of a series which furnished the most unpleasant ex- 
periences I can remember. For things at the coast, in 
spite of the splendid efforts of Harris and Benett- Stanford, 
had gone amiss from the first. The Somali were out of 
hand, and the transport had completely collapsed. Up at 
Ngatana we knew nothing of this, and day by day we expected 
the reinforcements, medicines, and stores which the chief 
had promised should leave Fungozambo the day after we 

We soon learnt by bitter experience the playful little ways 
of the camel. We were waiting for the " commissariat camel 
and his commissariat load," and we had several unpleasant 
illustrations of that animal's viciousness while doing so. One 
of the camels, which we had to keep with us, as it was too ill 
to march back to Witu, stupidly fell into the Tana. By two 
hours' hard work we cut a slope down to the river and hauled 
it ashore. As soon as it reached the top of the bank it shook 
itself, and then, as if to demonstrate the truth of Kipling's 

" And when we saves 'is bloomin' life, he chaws our bloomin' arm," 

it calmly and deliberately walked up to a Somali and proceeded 
to munch his shoulder. I was fortunately standing by with 
a spade, and at once opened a flank attack, which made the 
camel leave the man, but not before his shoulder had been 
seriously injured. 


The drawbacks of our life here were increased by illness. 
My legs gave me a good deal of trouble ; they had been sun- 
blistered during the canoe voyage down the river, and the over- 
exertion of the march from Witu to Borabini had produced 
a crop of ulcers. For more than a week I could not walk. 
Fever broke out in camp, and my two best men both had it 
in a serious form. Twice a day scouts went out to look for 
Count Lovatelli's party, which I expected to bring the medicine 
and stores we now urgently needed. Day followed day without 
any news, and we became very anxious. At length the wel- 
come tidings came in of the approach of the party, which was 
nearly three weeks overdue. 

Wasama marched into camp with ten camels, sixty porters, 
and fourteen Somali, but no medicines. He told me that 
there had been a good deal of illness and many deaths at 
Mkonumbi, and some at Fungozambo ; that thirty-five Somali 
and the few survivors of the Turkish contingent had been sent 
back invalided, and that both our leader and Count Lovatelli 
had gone away. He added that the former had told one of 
the Somali that he was only taking the invalids to Mombasa 
in order to send them to Aden, and that he would then come 
back to us. Only twenty more camels had been landed, and 
five of these were useless. Wasama was very disheartened 
about the whole expedition, and very bitter in his complaints 
about mismanagement. We sent the men back the same day 
to bring up another batch of stores, and then set to work 
strengthening the camp. This, however, was interrupted by 
the outbreak of an epidemic of malarial fever combined with 

A day or two afterwards a canoe came up from Mackinnon, 
stating that he had just received a telegram from a friend in 
Mombasa to say that our leader had passed through that town 
on his way into the interior, and to ask if I knew anything 
about the matter. 

As my services had been lent to our chief and not to the 
expedition, and I had been instructed before leaving London 
that in case of any disagreement or breaking-up of the expedi- 
tion I was to keep with him, I felt very awkwardly situated. 
The last communication I had had from him was the letter at 
Kau, ordering me to take the advance guard at Ngatana. At 



first I thought it hardly credible that he had gone off into 
the interior on an altogether different errand, without one word 
of explanation to Mackinnon or myself. 

One of the many inconveniences of not knowing what con- 
tracts our late chief had signed happened next day. Greatly 
to our surprise a dhow was seen coming up the river ; the 
Suahili in charge brought me a letter from Macquarie, stating 
that he had found the boat on the beach at Lamu. By 
an accident he had discovered that it had been bought and 
paid for by the expedition, and so sent it on. He asked me to 
count the oars, sails, etc., and then keep it till the others came 
up to decide w^hat was to be done with this useless encumbrance. 
I thanked the man, and told him, as well as I could, to tie our 
boat to a tree. He refused, as it was his boat, and he was going 
up stream. Pointing to the paper, " Chombo changu " (My 
dhow), I said. " Hapana ! chombo changu " (No ! my dhow), 
he indignantly repeated, as he sprang into the boat and pushed 
off before I could follow. He merrily waved his hand and pro- 
ceeded up stream. Two miles farther up the river the boat had 
to come close in to our bank in order to pass a snag. Having 
served out extra cartridges to twenty Somali, we marched 
thither and waited, hiding in the rushes. The boat came up, 
the crew suspecting nothing. A sudden rush and the dhow 
was ours, the Suahili and his men were prisoners. We pulled 
down the sail, and the current quickly carried us back to camp, 
the Suahili owner raging and cursing like a madman. Neither 
oaths nor entreaties had any effect on us, for the simple reason 
that not one of us understood a word that the poor man was 
saying. He gave it up at last, and sat in the bottom of the 
boat, an amusing picture of rage and bewilderment, alternating 
with despair. I was myself beginning, however, to feel very 
unhappy about this business. The man's indignation seemed 
so genuine that I was sure there was a hitch somewhere. Any- 
how my orders were clear : I was to take possession of the 
boat that would be brought up the Tana by the bearer of the 
letter. This I had done, and I intended to stick to it till some 
solution of the mystery was forthcoming. On our arrival at 
Vuju we soon discovered the mistake, for there we had a man 
who knew both Somali and Kisuahili. This dhow had passed 
ours on the way, and as the men despaired of ever getting our 


clumsy boat to Ngatana, they had sent the letter on by the 
owner of the captured vessel, who was going up the river 
elephant-shooting, for which he had a permit from the British 
East Africa Company. I apologised, and gave him some 
coffee. We laughed over the matter ; he gave me a fine pair 
of horns of the waterbuck, and then went on his way. It was 
lucky we caught him by surprise, for his party was well armed, 
and would probably have resisted capture. If his men had 
had time to get their weapons loaded, accidents might easily 
have happened. 

On the 14th seventy more porters came up under Omari, 
our head Zanzibari ; most of them returned the same day 
for another batch of stores. So many of the camp garrison 
were down with fever and dysentery that I had to retain 
a number of the newcomers in order to keep the camp work 
going. Most of my small stock of medicines had long since 
been exhausted, and the condition of the men was very serious. 
One great difficulty in treating the sick was that, owing to their 
fanatical prejudices, they could not be persuaded to take proper 
nourishment. Half of the available food was barred by the 
condition of their stomachs, the other half by the articles of 
their creed. 

The Somali, as Islamites of the Islamites, would not take 
any meat that had not been killed by one of themselves. As 
the Abyssinians were Christians I thought I should be spared 
this trouble with them. One evening, therefore, I sent them 
my soup, though I could ill afford to spare it. As the sick 
men were no better when I went round to see them a couple of 
hours afterwards I made inquiries, and found that they had 
thrown the soup into the Tana ; they explained that though it 
had been prepared by Christians, it had been made by such 
very different Christians from themselves that they could not 
drink it. 

The result was the men sickened, weakened, and died. We 
had started for Ngatana with a stock of medicine calculated to 
last twelve men for four days. It had to last for a month, and 
during part of this time to supply ninety men, of whom on an 
average fifty were ill. 

On the 17th I was taken ill myself; I tried to go my 
rounds as usual, but had to be carried back to the tent. Next 

O " 


morning I was still weaker, and it was with the greatest difficulty 
I could write a brief note to Witu asking that Mackinnon 
should be sent up, as I could do no more. In the afternoon I 
was still weaker, and completely lost the power of focusing my 
sight. Wasama came to me for medicine. There were still 
a few tabloids left in some envelopes fastened together by a 
paper clip. But my eyes were so useless that I could not 
read the names on any of them ; I could only find the quinine, 
by licking a tabloid out of each envelope until I came to it. 
But other medicines could not be distinguished by taste, and 
the men accordingly had to go without. Several times they 
came and begged for medicine, but I was powerless to help 

Next day the men were worse, but intensely to my relief 
Harris, Tichborne, and Benett- Stanford arrived from Witu. 
They found the whole camp in charge of a Somali corporal, as 
the headman and all the sergeants were ill. A message was at 
once despatched to Borabini by canoe, to tell Mackinnon to 
come up immediately. Two more Abyssinians, however, died 
before he arrived, in spite of Benett-Stanford's unremitting care 
and the fact that proper medicines were now available. Under 
Mackinnon's able treatment the men soon improved, but several 
of them were for some time in a very critical state of health. 
Mackinnon said he was called up at night more times during 
his first week at Ngatana, than he had been during his two 
years with Jackson's great caravan in Uganda. 

After the arrival of the others I had a very easy time. 
They made me drop all camp work, and nursed me with the 
greatest tenderness and care. They did a good deal of shooting, 
and thus kept the camp supplied with fresh meat. Harris was 
especially successful in this, and when he went out rarely 
returned without a waterbuck or topi. The expedition stores 
furnished us with all sorts of European dainties. Under these 
conditions I soon recovered strength, though I suffered from 
a complete loss of memory. I could remember what had 
happened during the past few weeks, but everything else was 
in a fog. I could not recollect the simplest scientific terms, 
and any effort to read led to such violent headaches that I 
resolved on perfect mental rest. 

My old friend, the son of the Pokomo chief, taught me 


how to " mau," and together we had some delightful canoeing 
trips on the river, punting up stream in the morning by a 
pole against the bank, and paddling down again in the 

About this time our strength was further diminished, as Sir 
Henry Tichborne was recalled to England to fulfil his functions 
as High Sheriff of Hampshire. Benett-Stanford accompanied 
him to Mkonumbi, and returned with the news that 600 
men from the island of Siyu had joined the rebels of Jongeni, 
and that the allies were marching to attack us. We strengthened 
our outposts, and prepared camp for defence. For some time 
after this we lived in a succession of alarms. The outposts 
would fire at one another, or mistake a herd of antelope for the 
enemy and give the signal. The Somali on these occasions 
would rush about the camp in a wild fury of excitement. I 
always felt very glad that my duty then was with the Zanzibari, 
who used to take up their stations in a very quiet business-like 
way. The promised attack never came off, though the natives 
were watching us closely, and several times guns were fired at 
night some distance from our camp, and certainly not by any 
of our own men. 

After Stanford's return future plans were discussed. The 
remnant of the Abyssinian contingent was in a state of utter 
collapse ; many of the men could not even carry their own food 
for a week, and some of them would not have lived through a 
hard day's march. It was decided, therefore, to send them back, 
to reduce our kit and repack it in suitable form, and then go 
up the Tana and possibly strike north for Basso Narok. As 
soon, however, as we began work on this plan, the hopeless 
nature of the task became apparent. There were tons of stuff 
that was absolutely useless, and indispensable articles were 
wanting. Our geographical equipment, in particular, was 
hopelessly inadequate. I had been told in London that no 
African expedition ever started with such a perfect scientific 
outfit, but it had neither barometer, thermometer, nor theodolite. 
It was also stated that a good library had been provided, but 
the only books we had on the district were the few scientific 
memoirs that I had taken with me and a copy of Hohnel's map. 
We were preparing to further explore the regions visited by 
Peters, Thomson, Piggott, Dundas, James, Fischer, and others, 


but we had none of the maps or reports of any of these expedi- 
tions. Our camp equipment was less imperfect, but it was 
miserably unfitted for the work. The tents were rotten, and 
one of the three had been blown to pieces. After a week's 
work we were all in despair, though Harris and Stanford were 
still resolved to go on. 

On 8th February a letter came from Witu, saying that the 
Administrator officially warned us against attempting to go 
near the Juba, as hostilities had broken out there and severe 
fighting had taken place between the Somali and a naval 
brigade. The day previously it had been decided that all the 
Abyssinians must be sent back, and that one of us must go with 
them to Aden, to arrange for their payment and transhipment 
back to Massowah. This decision, which was a necessary one, 
coupled with Mr. Piggott's warning, was the last blow that 
settled the fate of the expedition. 

It was resolved that we should all return to Mombasa. 
There we could discuss plans, and either arrange for a short 
shooting trip to Kilima Njaro, or abandon the expedition 
altogether. I said that I, at any rate, should make another 
attempt to get inland. Harris and Benett-Stanford gener- 
ously offered to set me free at once, and to let me take 
whatever men and stores I wanted. The offer was tempting, 
for it would have saved a couple of months' time. But 
in spite of the tons of material in the camp, it was impossible 
to equip a caravan of even thirty porters properly out of it. 
So I declined this kind offer, and thought it best to return to 
the coast with the others, and there make an entirely fresh 

We all gave up the expedition very reluctantly, but it was 
the only thing that could be done. When the trouble came 
and our leader left us, Harris and Benett-Stanford did all that 
men could do to carry the expedition on. But our caravan 
fell, and all their efforts could not raise it. They worked with 
judgment, pluck, and perseverance, and did not give in till the 
absolutely hopeless nature of the task was apparent to every 
one of us. 

Mackinnon's African experience was an extensive one. His 
verdict was that the only thing that could be done was to 
return to Mombasa, dismiss all the Abyssinians and all the 


Somali but about six, engage another lot of the latter, and 
practically start the whole thing anew. 

On the 1 2th of February Harris and I crossed the Tana 
with a few Somali and all the Zanzibari, to commence the 
march back to Mombasa ; Mackinnon and Benett-Stanford left 
next day with the camels and Somali to return to Lamu via 

In spite of the regrets with which I said farewell to Benett- 
Stanford and Mackinnon, I was very glad to leave that 
camp. I had spent seven weary weeks in it. The memory 
of the first four was so nauseous that I never left a place with 
such pleasure as I did that fever-haunted camp in the swamps 
and forest of Vuju. Both Harris and I were glad, moreover, to 
escape from the crowd of Somali, and to have to do with 
Zanzibari instead. We found these so much more useful, 
reliable, and obedient. 

We resolved to cross the deserts to the south of the Tana 
and to strike a tributary of the Sabaki marked on the maps 
as the Ndeo. We met some Galla, and tried to persuade 
them to go as guides. They refused, for they said there was 
no such river. This information I proved to be correct 
during my return march from the later expedition. The 
Ndeo is lost in the deserts long before it approaches the 
Sabaki ; it was, therefore, very lucky that we gave up the 
attempt to reach it. 

We did not do so, however, without another try, and I 
went to Borabini to engage guides at the Galla settlement 
there. I started overland, but was taken ill and had to hire 
a canoe. I reached Borabini prostrated by another attack 
of malarial dysentery. The two missionaries were away, but 
fortunately for me Mr. W. W. A. Fitzgerald, a specialist on 
tropical agriculture, on the staff of the British East Africa 
Company, had arrived there just before me. He nursed me 
through a rather serious illness, delaying his departure for 
Witu till Harris could come down. Thanks to their careful 
nursing I shook off the attack. We rested at Borabini, until 
I was strong enough to sit on a donkey, when we continued 
our march to the coast. We reached this at Marareni, a 
village occupied during only part of the year by the collec- 
tors of the " orchilla-weed," which abounds there. Thence we 



marched along the coast to Mambrui, where we were kindly 
received by the Lewali or Arab Governor. We made a 
branch excursion to the Magarini Hills, where the British 
East Africa Company had some extensive plantations. The 
work was carried on, under the supervision of Mr. Weaver, by 
freed slaves and some of Emin Pasha's old Soudanese soldiers, 
who had been brought to the coast by Stanley. 

The next march took us to Melindi, where we had the 
pleasure of meeting the late Mr. Bell Smith. Harris con- 
tinued overland to Mombasa with the Zanzibari, but as several 
of the Somali were too ill to march, and we were anxious that 
they should get to Mombasa in time for the German steamer, 
I went south with them on a dhow. 

We ought to have done the passage in a day. But we 
made a late start, the winds were contrary, and at nightfall 
we had only reached Takaaungu, about half way. The 
captain would not sail in the dark, so we ran into the har- 
bour and anchored. I insisted on being landed and sleeping 
on shore, for the stench of the dhow, and the quarrels of the 
Somali with the other passengers and the crew, were not 
conducive to slumber. We started again at daybreak, and 
drifted slowly southward. About eleven o'clock the breeze 
freshened, and we had to take down the awning. After this 
we had to sit huddled up on the poop in the full glare of the 
midday sun, which made the deck so hot that it could not be 
touched without discomfort. 

We arrived off Mombasa late in the afternoon, and stood 
in at once through the narrow channel that leads to the 
harbour. To the south rose a dazzlingly white cliff of raised 
coral rock, worn into hollows and caves by the waves that splashed 
its face with clouds of spray ; to the north stretched a wide 
sheet of surf over the Leven Reefs, on which Vasco da Gama 
tells us that the native pilots tried to wreck his ships. We 
passed the new hospital and the famous old fort which guards 
the town, and threaded our way through a crowd of ship- 
ping, which included a British cruiser, a German merchant 
vessel, and native craft of all sorts and sizes. There were 
" batili " from Muscat, vessels with a long projecting prow 
like the " counter " of a racing yacht, massive " bagalas " from 
Bombay, with square sterns and high poops, reminding one 


of old Spanish galleons, and graceful light " mtepes " from 
Lamu, with lines not unlike those of an English racing 
cutter. With shortened sail and wind abeam, we worked 
slowly up the harbour against the falling tide, and anchored 
beyond the quay. I went ashore at once, expecting to 
arrange for the transference of the Somali to the German 
steamer which was to leave the same night. I therefore told 
the men to stop on board until my return. As there was no 
news from Benett-Stanford, the men could not be sent on, so 
I hired a house for them in the town and went back to the 
dhow. Here I found that, with characteristic disobedience, 
all the Somali, except my cook Hirsi, had gone ashore the 
moment I was out of sight. I had all the baggage trans- 
ferred to a Customs shed or " go-down," and while I was 
watching its removal the Somali came up for their " posho " 
or food money. The usual rate is sixteen pice^ for a Somali 
and eight for a Zanzibari. I gave Hirsi twenty pice as a 
reward for his obedience, and refused to give the others more 
than seven as a punishment, for I said they were worth less 
than Zanzibari. They regarded the insult as worse than the 
injury, and in a fit of passion declared that rather than accept 
seven pice they would take nothing. I took away their 
rifles, belts, and ammunition, and told them to wait for Harris, 
for they would get nothing more out of me. They stormed 
and raged for their sixteen pice posho — of course without 

While this was going on, the last of the luggage was 
brought ashore and stowed in the go-down. When it was all 
safely landed, and the Customs were responsible for the safety 
of the luggage, and the Mombasa police for the future behaviour 
of the men, I was free. 

The clerk gave me a receipt for the baggage, and I took 
my place on Mr. Piggott's trolly. The Somali redoubled 
their protests, and in an appropriate sense of clamorous hurly- 
burly, my connection with the great Lake Rudolf Expedition 
came to an end. 

The trolly soon carried me out of the hubbub, and I could 
quietly think over plans for another try. I had learnt one 
lesson from my late leader, who had at least taught me that 

■' A pice is a sixty-fourth of a rupee, so sixteen pice are worth about fourpence. 


the best way to conduct an African expedition is not to throw 
it up as soon as difficulties occur, and to leave one's own 
responsibilities to others. So I looked back to the past with 
gratitude for the one lesson, and to the future with hope. 
For I felt that if the Zanzibari proverb be true — 

" Kupotea njia, njiko kujue njia " 
(To lose the way, that is the way to know the way) — 

then, having lost the way under the guidance of another, I had 
learnt the first lesson in the art of finding the way for myself 


" Let it be virtuous to be obstinate." 

Coi'iolaiiHS, V. 3. 



" Kongowea ya mvumo, maangavu maji male 
Haitoi lililomo. Gongwa isingenyemele 
Msiotambua ndumo na utambaji \va kale." 

Verses of Mityaka on Moiithasa, collected by Rev. IV. E. Taylor. 

(Mombasa roars like the wind through the fan-palm, 
Surf breaks o'er its reefs in calm as at spring tide ; 
It ever is sending forth, yet ne'er has it fail'd. 
Think not 'twill be peaceful as you hear not its seething, 
For you know not its war-cries, nor its story of old.) 

The town of Mombasa is situated on an island, which, owing 
to the healthiness of its climate, the fertility of the neigh- 
bouring country, the convenience of its harbours, and the 
strength of its position, has exercised an influence on East 
African history out of all proportion to its size. The town 
stands on the edge of a cliff on the northern shore ; to the 
east stretches a plateau of coral rock, healthy and dry, and 
open to the bracing breezes from the sea. To the west the 
country is richly wooded and fertile, but in places swampy 
and malarious, for the red sands of which it is composed }'ield 
a soil very different from that formed from the coral rock. 
To the north and south of the island are the harbours of 
Mombasa and Kilindini, which, with the exception only of 
Delagoa Bay, are admittedly the finest on the eastern coast of 
Africa. A shallow creek, which can be forded at low tide, 
separates the island from a wide tract of rich food-bearing 
country, which now, as at the visit of Ibn Batuta in the four- 
teenth century, forms the granary for the inhabitants of the 
island. With all these advantages, it is not surprising that 


Mombasa has long been recognised as occupying one of the 
most important situations on the coast of Tropical Africa, 
and that, when it is first mentioned in history, it was already 
an important town. 

Of the foundation and early history of Mombasa we know 
nothing. It is said that there are some old manuscripts at 
Lamu, in the possession of the great Mazrui clan, which could 
tell the story of the Arab settlements on this coast. These 
precious documents, however, are so jealously guarded that no 
European has been allowed to see them. Until their evidence 
is forthcoming, the history of Mombasa begins with the visit to 
it in I 33 I of the famous Arabian traveller, Muhammad Ibn 'Abd 
Allah, or, as he is generally known, in order to distinguish him 
from the six other authors of the same name. Sheik Ibn Batuta.^ 
He spent one night in the town during the course of his 75,000 
miles of wanderings. His account of the place seems to be as 
accurate as most of his records are. His experience of the 
people was very different from that of his successor Vasco da 
Gama, who called in April 1498 on his first voyage to India. 
The Arabian found the people " generally religious, chaste, and 
honest." Da Gama describes them as hostile and treacherous. 
According to his own account, the king sent on board a present 
of fowls and fruit, and begged him to bring his ships into the 
harbour : pilots were lent for this purpose, who had been really 
ordered to run the ships on the reefs. The Portuguese records 
do not agree among themselves, and it appears probable that 
no such treachery was intended. Da Gama went north to 
Melindi without personally landing on the island, though the 
two men whom he had sent ashore had been kindly treated by 
the natives. 

From this time onward the history of Mombasa fully 
justifies its native name of " Mvita " or " battle." Two years 
later, after Da Gama's return to Lisbon, the town had to pay 
the penalty of having aroused the Portuguese suspicions. A 
fleet was sent to India to annex and proselytise ; its com- 
mander, Cabral, was ordered " to begin with preaching, and if 
that failed, to proceed to the sharp determination of the sword." 

1 The standard edition of his voyages is Voyages d' Ibn Batoutah, 4 vols., See. 
Asiat. Paris, 1853-59. For most of the later history I am indebted to Burton's 



Cabral apparently preferred the latter method of persuasion. 
In 1500 he avenged the supposed treachery to Da Gama by 
looting Mombasa. Three years later another expedition passed 
along the coast, and made the town pay tribute ; and in August 
1505 a fleet of twenty ships, under the command of Francisco 
Almeyda, attacked and destroyed it. In 1508 the Portuguese 
formally took possession of the island, and appointed a resident 
governor. But they had by this time annexed more of the 
world than they could conveniently manage ; to help in doing 
this they proceeded to classify their possessions. They divided 
Arabia and Ethiopia into three provinces, in the first of which 
they placed Mombasa. These proceedings resulted in a pax 
Lusitanica, the value of which we may estimate from the fact 
that as the Mombasa people were said to have treated the 
natives of Melindi and Zanzibar badly, it was necessary in 
1528 to send a powerful force under Don Zuna da Cunha to 
raze the city to the ground. This, however, was not so easily 
effected ; the town was so well defended that it was not taken 
till after a siege of four months. The next opportunity for 
mischief that presented itself was on the occasion of a visit 
from a Turkish fleet under Ali Bey in 1586. A genera- 
tion had by this time grown up which knew not Da Cunha, 
and so could not restrain its innate passion for intrigue. The 
natives placed the island under the suzerainty of the Porte, 
but neither of the high contracting parties gained much by 
this arrangement. The Portuguese Viceroy of India sent 
Alfonso de Melo Bombeyro with a fleet of eighteen ships to 
punish this act of rebellion, and Mombasa was promptly 
reduced to ashes. The town soon grew up again, but only 
to be looted by a tribe of barbarians named Zimbas, who came 
from the south. Their occupation of the island was, however, 
a very short one. The Portuguese seem then to have grown 
tired of this constant series of evictions, and built the fort 
which is now the most picturesque building in East Africa. 
This secured peace on the island until 1630, when the fortress 
was captured by stratagem. The members of the garrison 
were shot by arrows, although they had surrendered on con- 
dition that their lives should be spared. A force from India 
was at once despatched to recapture the citadel and punish the 
apostate mission boy, who planned both the revolt and the 


massacre. For three months the rebel leader, Yusuf bin 
Ahmed, or, to give him his baptismal name, Don Jeronymo 
Chingoulia, held his own ; then he dismantled the fortress 
and fled to Arabia, in a ship that he had captured from his 

In 1660 trouble came from a fresh quarter. The Iman ^ 
of Oman, more generally known as the Sultan of Muscat, laid 
siege to Mombasa and, after a struggle of five years, captured 
the fort. The town, however, held its own, and it was not till 
1698 that the Portuguese were for the last time expelled from 
the island. The victory had been gained by the united forces 
of the Iman and of the Mazrui, the leading clan of Arab 
settlers on the coast. The latter gained most of the fruits of 
success ; for though Mombasa was nominally subject to the 
state of Oman, the Mazrui were practically undisputed masters 
of the town. This lasted till 1822, when Sayyid Said, the 
greatest of the long line of I mans, resolved to exercise the 
powers that he had nominally inherited from his ancestors. 
His designs were discovered, and the Mazrui appealed to 
England for protection. This was provisionally granted, 
but almost immediately withdrawn. A fierce struggle then 
ensued and lasted for five years, ending only with the capture 
of the fort by treachery. Mombasa then finally lost its inde- 
pendence. It was at first ruled by an Arab governor or 
" Lewali," in the name of the Iman of Oman. After the death 
of Sayyid Said at sea in 1856, his sons quarrelled. The 
question was referred to England for arbitration, and the award 
of Lord Canning made Zanzibar independent of Muscat. The 
African possessions of the Iman were assigned to Zanzibar, to 
which town Mombasa has ever since been subject. In 1875 
the people struck another blow for freedom, and their revolt 
was only suppressed by British interference. It was probably 
the strength of the revolutionary party that led Sayyid 
Barghash, who was then Sultan of Zanzibar, to offer the late 
Sir William Mackinnon in 1877 a lease of all his possessions 
on the mainland. The offer was then refused owing to the 
timidity of the English Foreign Office, and it was not till 
German competition had roused English fears, that the British 
East African Association was able, in 1887, to accept a lease of 
the country. Next year this Association became the Imperial 



British East Africa Company, with Mombasa as its head- 
quarters ; and though the Arab LewaH is still nominally 
Governor, and the blood -red flag of the Sultan of Zanzibar 
still waves over the fort, the Company's Administrator became 
the real ruler of the town.^ 

The Administrator's residence is on the south side of the 
island, on a cliff commanding a fine view over the broad 
harbour of Kilindini and up the long estuary of Port Reitz to 
the distant summits of the mountains of Shimba. This fine 
sheet of water was named after J. J. Reitz, who surveyed it for 
the Admiralty in 1824, and died at the completion of his task. 
The house is connected with the town by a narrow gauge 
railway, along which garrys are pushed by native runners. Mr. 
Piggott kindly invited me to stay with him, and to his home 
I followed him after I had settled up affairs with the men. 

The ride across the island was delightful ; the narrow line 
" switchbacked " up and down hill through park-like scenery, of 
which the beauty was the more fascinating by contrast with 
that of the monotonous scrub-covered plains I had previously 
seen. We dashed through groves of lofty cocoa-nut palms, 
past rugged baobabs and massive shady mangoes, between 
which were glades radiant with meadow -flowers and orchids 
and festooned by creepers and vines of the india-rubber plant 
{LandolpJiia). Rushing down hill in a sharp curve, we startled 
a pack of monkeys who were playing on the line : they fled 
barking to the woods as the garry rattled past them. Mr. 
Piggott met me in his garden, and took me for a ramble along 
the shore to examine some beds of coral limestone, so crowded 
with garnets and fragments of emerald and beryl, as to resemble 
an ancient metamorphic rock or " calciphyr," rather than a 
recent coral rock. 

It did not need any contrast with camp life on the Tana 
to make my stay in Mombasa enjoyable. The scenery of 
the island is most fair, the air from the ocean is fresh and 
bracing, and the members of the European colony were most 

1 The 'efforts of the Company were not fortunate in Africa, and therefore were 
not appreciated in England, and in 1895 the country became a British Protectorate. 
Had the Company cared less for the natives and more for itself, had it been more selfish 
and less patriotic, had it endeavoured rather to secure dividends for its shareholders than 
the freedom of the slaves in its dominions, its efforts would probably have been estimated 
with approximate justice, and the judgment passed upon it by public opinion might have 
been approximately fair. 


entertaining and hospitable, and soon made me forget that 
the only clothes I had fit for Mombasa were, or rather were 
supposed to be, coming on a dhow. 

I went into Mombasa on the day after my arrival to 
discuss my plans with the different members of the European 
colony. The result was not encouraging. I was too limited 
both in time and money. I had only six months' leave of 
absence from England still left, so I must be back at the coast 
in time to catch the mail at the end of August ; and I felt that 
I could not afford the expense of a caravan of more than thirty 
men. My friends in Mombasa declared that both the time 
and force were insufficient for an expedition to Baringo and 
across the plateau of Laikipia to Kenya. The two most 
experienced men then in Mombasa were James Martin and C. 
W. Hobley. The former had accompanied Joseph Thomson 
in his expedition to the Masai country in 1883, and had been 
employed in caravan work in East Africa ever since that date. 
He had managed Sir John Willoughby's shooting party to 
Kilima Njaro and Sir Robert Hunter's up the Tana, and had 
been to Uganda seven times. His experience of the country 
is therefore unrivalled, and I was naturally much depressed 
when he told me that he thought seventy men the minimum 
with which I ought to try to reach Baringo, and that even that 
number would be insufficient on Laikipia. Both Martin and 
Hobley told me a good deal about the trade goods required on 
the journey, and I returned to Kilindini feeling more grateful 
for their information than for their advice. 

Harris arrived next day, and Benett - Stanford the day 
after that. The former had marched overland from Melindi, 
and the latter had come down by dhow from Kipini, at the 
mouth of the Ozi. They left immediately for Zanzibar to take 
the Somali back to Aden. They both very kindly warned me 
not to forget my recent illness before deciding to go inland 
again. When I told them I had quite made up my mind to 
do so, unless recalled by the mail due in a few days' time, they 
most generously invited me to take whatever I wanted out 
of the stores of the expedition. I parted with Harris and 
Benett-Stanford with deep regret. The three months we had 
spent together had been a time of worry and disappointment 
and bitter vexation of spirit, but I had never had a single 


unpleasant word from either of them. They had treated me 
throughout with the greatest kindness and consideration. When 
I was ill they nursed me with womanly tenderness, and during 
my convalescence they insisted on my dropping my share of the 
camp work until my strength was quite restored. Whatever 
help I wanted in my natural history studies they were always 
most ready to give. It was no fault of theirs that the expedi- 
tion was then being disbanded at Mombasa instead of in camp 
on the shores of Basso Narok. 

Until the arrival of the English mail I could do nothing. 
My services had been lent to our former leader to help him in 
exploration. It seemed to me quite possible that the authori- 
ties might take the view that as soon as I found he did not 
want me, it was my duty to return home. I did not, therefore, 
feel justified in beginning to enlist my men till the mail arrived. 
I could, however, have done nothing in the interval, as I was 
prostrated by an attack of fever. As a result of this I went 
into Mombasa to get my letters, feeling more inclined to attach 
value to the warnings of my Mombasa friends. I looked again 
through a list showing the cost of different expeditions, ranging 
from Count Teleki's at ^30,000, Mr. Jackson's at ;^2 5,000, 
down to more moderate ones such as Mr. Joseph Thomson's at 
;^3000. Even over our expedition about ^7000 had been 
expended. When I contrasted my limited resources with such 
figures as these, and thought of the history of previous efforts 
to explore Laikipia and reach Kenya, I began to feel that 
perhaps after all it would be as well if I were recalled home. 

The letters came. They showed that the news of our 
leader's departure for Uganda was known in London before I 
knew it at Ngatana. There were, however, no instructions, so 
I felt at liberty to decide for myself I rechecked my estimates 
of time and cost. I could find nothing wrong with them, 
so I sent off a message to Omari to say that if he were 
ready to go with me to Baringo and Kenya with a caravan of 
forty men, he was to meet me at the Transport Office at eight 
o'clock next morning. 

He was there at the appointed time and was quite ready 
to go, so I engaged him at once as headman or " munipara." 
We talked things over, Hobley kindly acting as interpreter, for 
Omari could not speak a word of English. 


The selection of my headman was a very important step. 
The success of the expedition and the harmony of its elements 
depended to a large extent on his nerve and trustworthiness, 
and also on his interest in the work. Several men were recom- 
mended to me on the ground of their knowledge of the country 
I wished to explore, but, for one reason or another, I did not 
take to any of them. One looked lazy, another sly, a third 
promptly destroyed his chances by expressing doubts as to the 
safety of the journey with so small a caravan. A famous old 
headman, named Wadi Bunduki, was the best of those recom- 
mended. His knowledge of the country around Baringo was 
unrivalled, and would have been most valuable. He seemed a 
most charming man, and thoroughly to deserve the estimate 
conveyed in the designation of " dear old fellow " which every- 
body gave him. I did not, however, regard the two features 
of dearness and age as the leading qualifications for the post. 
I resolved, therefore, to take Omari ben Hamadi. He had 
been the headman of the Zanzibari contingent in the previous 
expedition, and I had then some experience of his personal 
qualities. His conduct had won my respect. He seemed just 
the sort of man I wanted. He was young and ambitious, of 
immense physical strength and inexhaustible energy. He. had 
a splendid record, having served under Stanley on the Emin 
Pasha Relief Expedition, and had been headman to the British 
East Africa Company's expeditions up the Tana and Juba 
rivers, besides having taken part in several less important 
journeys. The fact that the last expedition on which he had 
been engaged had failed was distinctly a point in his favour. 
The failure was due to no fault of Omari's. Nevertheless he 
had been so much chaffed about it by jealous rivals on the coast 
that he might be trusted to do his very best to prevent return- 
ing after a second breakdown. The chief objection to him was 
that he did not know the country : beyond Machakos, in 
Masailand, on Laikipia and at Njemps, he was as complete a 
stranger as I was. This, however, did not seem to me alto- 
gether a disadvantage. I thought it would make him all the 
more anxious to see the country, because the experience there 
would be of great value to him in the future. Moreover, his 
ignorance would give me some power over him ; in districts 
that had been mapped I knew more of the country ahead than 



he did. This doctrine was regarded in Mombasa as altogether 
unsound. It was impressed on me that the first requisite in 
a headman is knowledge of the country through which the 
caravan is going to pass, and of the people dwelling there. I 
was very reluctant to act in contravention of local advice, but 
after pondering the matter carefully I resolved to take Omari, 
and well indeed did he justify the choice. 

I went through the list of the men of our abortive expedi- 
tion with Omari. I had watched them carefully, and so could 
tell him the names of those I wanted and of those whom I did 
not want. I said that I would not take a Somali at any price, 
though all of those of our former expedition then in Mombasa 
begged to be allowed to come. I was sick and tired of the very 
sight of the people. I gave Omari also a list of the languages 
for which I wanted interpreters, and told him that, if possible, 
he was to engage two or three of the men who had been with 
Count Teleki. If none could be found in Mombasa, they must 
be obtained from Bagamoyo or Zanzibar. As I wished to leave 
in a week, there was no time to lose. We set to work at once 
— he to hunt up recruits and I to collect stores. Mr. Piggott 
kindly lent me thirty-five Snider carbines, and I also took five 
of our old long Sniders for the headman and the four Askaris. 

After a week spent in purchasing and packing, everything 
was ready. I was grieved to have to start with so incomplete 
a geographical equipment, but the necessary instruments could 
not be obtained. At first the porters came in very slowly. 
This was partly because they did not like Omari's manner 
— prompt and business-like, but unsympathetic — and partly 
because the great Mohammedan festival of Ramathan was at 
hand, and the men did not like to lose the fun. It was not till 
the 22nd of March that the last man was enlisted and the last 
load packed. I originally intended to start on that date, but 
as the mail from Zanzibar was a day later than was expected, 
I had to postpone our departure until the 23rd. 

After a revision of my list of trade goods, my " ways and 
means," by Mr. Martin, who had returned with the mail, we 
read out the roll-call. Three men were missing, and we had 
to send out some of the Company's police to bring them in. 
Another porter, whom I knew and did not want, had given 
himself a new name, and signed under it. I refused to have 


him, but by the kindness of Hobley one of the Company's men 
took his place. These delays made it eleven o'clock before the 
last load was tied up and Omari was able to report that all 
were present. The men then formed line outside the Transport 
Office ; each had a load assigned to him ; arms and cooking 
pots were distributed. At last all was ready, and I was able 
to give the much-desired order to start. The " kiringozi," or 
guide, decked in a gorgeous Busoga goatskin, took his place at 
the head of the line and unfurled the flag of the expedition. 
A couple of drummers hired for the occasion began to beat 
their noisy tomtoms. Then the men struck up a marching 
song, and amid the cheers of a crowd of natives the caravan 
started on the journey. Shortly afterwards we despatched 
some men with ten loads of food and two of ammunition, which 
I preferred not to distribute until we were on the mainland. 
To have given them out before would have increased the 
temptation to desert, or at least to sell the cartridges. I still 
had to settle some accounts, and, in accordance with the 
Brussels Convention, to sign a guarantee not to part with arms 
or ammunition, and receive a license to carry them. Not until 
four o'clock could I get away, by which time the porters were 
already in camp on the mainland. My own pleasure in the 
start was lessened by an attack of fever, and I could not get 
up an adequate appreciation of the kind efforts of two of the 
Company's officials to cheer me by a parting song continued 
as long as I was in sight. The refrain of the song — and it 
seemed all refrain — was the question, " Will he nae come back 
again ? " I walked across the island to the old fort of Makupe, 
which was built to guard the ford to the mainland in the days 
of the long struggle between the Suahili and the Portuguese. 
I crossed in a dug-out canoe, and at once began the ascent of 
the slope that leads to the great inland plateau. 

On the way I picked up a few fragments of some 
ammonites, which occur in the clay that forms the lower 
part of the slope. These were the only fossils I expected 
to find throughout the expedition. So in spite of their 
fragmentary condition I stowed them away in one of my 
capacious pockets. I strolled on to camp feeling grateful 
to these, for they brought pleasantly to my mind, for a few 
minutes, memories of the charming valleys in the Cotteswolds 


where I had first collected specimens of them. But thouo"hts 
of the past soon gave way to the needs of the present — one of 
which was rest. 

At daybreak next morning Omari served out nine days' 
rations of food and ten rounds of cartridges to each man. We 
read over the roll-call once again and I counted the men. Happily 
of the forty-one there was no absentee. There was the head- 
man, four Askaris, two of whom had previously been headmen 
and had had considerable experience, thirty-three porters, a 
cook, and a tent-boy. These were the forty, and to them I 
added myself. I had endeavoured to get a European to 
accompany me. Especially I wanted to find a sailor from a 
man-of-war, who could shoot game, skin animals, mend the 
guns, drill the men, take his turn as sentry on the sentries 
every other night. But no European could be obtained of any 
kind or on any terms, so I had to start alone. 

The caravan was certainly small for the work before it ; but 
it looked as if it meant business. For its size it was very 
complete. We had interpreters for the languages spoken in 
the Taita Mountains, in Ukamba, on Kamasia and at Njemps, 
and several for the languages of the Masai and the Kikuyu. 
We had men who had served in most of the caravans whose 
routes I wanted to connect with mine ; we had one of the two 
men who had been with Count Teleki to his highest point on 
Kenya, and one who had been with the British East Africa 
Company's expedition as far as it went on the same mountain. 
Some of the men were almost new to caravan life, and two or 
three I would not have taken could I have made up the list 
without them. But most of the men were reliable, and we had 
a good proportion of veterans, including several of Stanley's Emin 
Pasha Relief Expedition. 

Allowing myself but one last look back over the island of 
Mombasa, I followed the men out of camp on to the path, and 
commenced for the second time, but now with feelings of 
greater confidence, the march toward that remarkable feature 
of East African geography — the Rift Valley. 

" Whither, with what haste 
The weight we must convey with us will permit." 

Attt. and CI. iii. i. 



"At half-past five's Revelly, an' our tents they down must come, 
Like a lot of button mushrooms when you pick 'em up at 'ome, 
But it's over in a minute, an' at six the column starts. 
With its best foot first 
And the road a-slidin' past, 
An' every bloomin' campin'-ground exactly like the last." 


The east coast of Africa has a notorious reputation for 
unhealthiness. This it has acquired mainly from the reports 
of the earHer expeditions into the interior, which entered the 
country by routes to the south of the British possessions. 
There, an inland plateau is separated from the sea by a broad 
belt of marshy and malarious lowland, where fever and dysen- 
tery are rife. Explorers, therefore, had to encounter the most 
unhealthy part of their journey when they were least prepared 
for it, and at that date the exact nature of the diseases and 
the most efficacious remedies were unknown. West of Mombasa, 
however, the hills come so close to the sea that the worst of 
the fever belt is absent, and the first day's march ends on the 
edge of a high plateau. As a matter of fact, the difficulty of 
the Mombasa road is usually lack of water. In the dry season 
it is sometimes necessary to make marches of thirty-five, or even 
fifty-four miles, from one water-hole to the next. This difficulty, 
encountered at the beginning of the journey, when the loads are 
at their heaviest, and the men are fresh from the idle life and 
relaxing climate of the coast, is a severe trial to a caravan. 

But I anticipated that we were more likely to be troubled 
with an excess than with a scarcity of water, for the great 



rains were due. That we should not have long to wait for 
them was indicated by the dense clouds that hung in the west, 
and the weather-wise on the coast predicted a " masika " or 
rainy season of exceptional severity. I had, therefore, made 
no special arrangements for carrying water, and felt a distinct 
satisfaction when, the day after we had left Mombasa, the 
rains began. 

We struck camp very leisurely, as I had promised that we 
would that day go no farther than Maseras or, as it is other- 
wise known, Gonjeni. This place the men assured me was 
five hours' march inland ; but I knew it ought to be reached in 
three. I consented to so short a march ostensibly as a favour 
to the men, though I felt it would be quite as much as I could 
manage, for my fever was worse and had entailed a breakfast- 
less start. The path almost immediately joined a narrow gauge 
railway, which was laid as the beginning of the projected 
Uganda railway. It now ends, however, at the foot of the hill 
of Mazeras, only seven miles from the coast. Even for this 
short length it is not intact ; in places the line is overgrown by 
shrubs ; here and there the white ants have removed the 
foundations of the sleepers, rain has breached the embank- 
ment, and the natives have at intervals stolen a few lengths of 
the rails. The track passed over undulating, richly-wooded 
country, with clearings in which were groves of cocoa-nut 
palms and papaws, orchards of mangoes and cashew apples, 
plantations of banana, maize, and millet, and fields of cassava 
(manioc or arrowroot), and of the plant the seeds of which yield 
simpsin oil. This district is the granary and market-garden of 
Mombasa, as it was in the days of old Ibn Batuta. The 
ground rises gradually to the foot of the steep hill of Mazeras, 
the summit of which, 600 feet in height, we reached just before 
a heavy storm of rain burst upon us. I at once took up my 
quarters in a comfortable iron hut, that had been erected for 
the manager of a mine once opened here. The workings show 
a thin vein of galena or sulphide of lead, which was prospected 
by the British East Africa Company ; the ore is, however, in 
thin strings, and the specimens I saw appeared to be very poor 
in silver. An hour after my arrival, while I was taking my 
frugal dinner of a cup of arrowroot, I was startled by a visit 
from Mr. Edmonds, the missionary who was stationed at 

64 ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

Golbanti at the time of my first visit there. His residence 
on the Tana had shattered his health, and he had been 
dangerously ill since I met him ; he had, therefore, been trans- 
ferred to this station, as it was supposed to be healthy. Both 
he and his colleague, however, still suffered a good deal from 
fever. He took my temperature and said it was io6° F., and 
therefore kindly tried to persuade me to rest for a day or two. 
The fear of my men deserting if allowed to stop so near 
Mombasa weighed far more heavily on my mind than did my 
temperature ; so I felt compelled to go on. I tried in vain to 
buy a donkey, but the missionaries kindly lent me one for a 
couple of days. 

Early next morning, after a sleepless night, I was lifted on 
to the donkey, and followed the caravan, which had already 
started. The road ran for some distance along a turf-clad 
ridge which commanded splendid views to the south and west. 
The prospect to the south was especially fine, as it included the 
broad estuary of Port Reitz, with the rounded hills of Shimba 
at its head. Thanks to the rain, the grass was green and the 
whole country looked fresh and luxuriant. The rocks in this 
district are much older than those lower at the shore, in which 
occur the ammonites. They here consist of coarse-bedded sand- 
stone and grits with layers of pebbles ; the series appears to 
have been formed as a shore deposit on the slopes of the old 
gneiss plateau that extends inland. I did not see any fossils, 
but I could not hunt properly for them ; there were some 
promising-looking shaley layers, which it was hard indeed to 
pass unsearched. 

After leaving Mazeras we saw no more villages or signs of 
cultivation, and entered the great barren " Nyika " (see chap, 
xii. p. 223), inhabited hereabout only by some few families of 
Wa-duruma. After a march of six miles we reached a small 
stream bed, a series of holes filled with yellowish-green and 
filthy stagnant water. I was too ill to go farther, so we 
camped. Half an hour later Edmonds arrived to go on with 
us for a couple of days and bring back the donkey. It was a 
good thing he came, for I was delirious all the afternoon, and 
even in the lucid intervals could not read the labels on my 
medicine bottles. Next day we made a better march of ten 
miles through a drenching downpour of rain. The fever had 


subsided, but it had left me very weak, and for the last two 
miles I had to be held on the donkey. We camped on a hill- 
top amid some flat slabs of carboniferous sandstone, beside 
some pools of water. From these the place derives its name 
of " Maji Chumvi " or " Salt-water " ; they are usually brackish, 
though after the heavy rain of the last few days they then 
tasted quite fresh. Next morning the weather was finer, and 
camp was struck by daybreak. Edmonds then had to return ; 
he gave me on parting a good deal of somewhat startling 
medical advice, which I simply noted as not to be used, but 
which I fear he practised on himself. He then jumped on to 
the donkey and rode off, shouting back to me the promise of a 
hearty welcome on my return. The welcome was never given : 
the next news I had of my poor friend was of his death. 

This day's march took us well out on to the Taro Plains ; 
these are part of the barren plateau that, throughout Equatorial 
Africa, separates the edge of the coastal slope from the foot of 
the volcanic mountains of the interior. Before us lay a vast 
expanse of uninteresting-looking country, rising slowly to the 
west. It was covered by a dense scrub of flat-topped, umbrella- 
shaped acacia trees ; the turf of the coast zone was replaced 
by tufts of dry grass ; huge aristolochias, spiny sansevieras, and 
aloes formed the most striking features in the undergrowth. 
The only things that broke the monotony were the massive 
trunks and knobbed branches of huge baobabs that rose through 
the scrub, and rugged peaks of gneiss that towered above the 
plain on the western horizon. The country did not promise 
much of interest to the naturalist, and even if it had done so I 
was not well enough to collect. The fever had left me, and 
my temperature had even fallen two degrees below normal ; 
but I was terribly weak. This was not surprising, as for three 
days I had taken only a little arrowroot. I stepped out as 
vigorously as possible for the first two hours, and then suddenly 
collapsed. The caravan had gone far ahead, and I had to 
follow it ; I could, however, only drag on for a few hundred 
yards at a time, and then He down to rest. It was the most 
dismal experience throughout the expedition. At last I could 
go no farther until Omari sent on to the camp, had a kettle of 
tea made and brought back to me. It was in this district that 
many of Thomson's men broke down for want of water ; he, 


66 ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

with some of the stronger porters, had to go on to get water 
and return with it to the rest. While lying on the ground 
waiting for the tea, I could not help contrasting my feeble 
condition with Thomson's rescue of his men, and thinking that 
African explorers should be made of tougher stuff. 

In the evening a party of Wa-kamba passed with some 
donkeys, which they were driving to Mombasa to sell. I sent 
Omari to try to buy one, but the natives demanded the pre- 
posterous price of half a load of cloth, a load of iron wire, 
and twenty shaddas (or 2000 strings) of beads. We declined 
the offer, and charitably wished they might get their price in 

Next morning I was sufficiently better to achieve the march 
of nine miles in a little over four hours. Camp was pitched 
before my arrival beside the famous " Ngurunga," or water-holes 
of Taro. These Ngurunga are a series of holes in sandstone, 
and they are often the only source of water in this part of the 
Duruma country. They resemble in form the " pot-holes " 
formed in boulders and in the rocky beds of mountain streams 
by the swirling round of a stone resting in a hollow. The 
Ngurunga have certainly not been formed in this way, and the 
exact method of their origin has often been discussed. They 
appear to be due simply to the gradual deepening of slight 
depressions in the surface of a rock ; water collects in these, 
and its solvent power is increased by the organic acids derived 
from the decay of vegetable matter ; the cement between the 
sand grains is dissolved, and the grains thus loosened are 
removed by the wind when next the water has evaporated 
from the hollow. A continual repetition of the process results 
in the formation of a deep hole. Mr. Joseph Thomson suggests 
that man aids in their formation by scraping away the sand 
from the bottom when drawing the water. This, no doubt, has 
often happened ; but Ngurunga as large and deep as those of 
Taro occur in districts and in positions where human agency 
cannot have aided in their erosion. 

At Taro begins the worst march in this stage of the 
journey. From this point there is often no more water to be 
had until a pool is reached on the summit of Maungu, thirty- 
five miles away. The water-hole there is sometimes dry, and 
then a caravan has to drag on for twelve more weary miles to 


Ndara. Fortunately I was so much better that it did not seem 
necessary to delay the commencement of this march. I was 
cheered by the capture of a Hzard about two and a half feet 
long {Monitor albogiilaris , Daud.), and began to take sufficient 
interest in things in general, to record the few meteorological 
observations which my imperfect outfit allowed. In order to 
lessen the fatigues of the journey, however, it was decided to 
start at midnight and make three short marches next day. It 
poured with rain all night, and the clouds made it so dark that 
we had to postpone our departure till the morning. As soon 
as the first streak of dawn appeared, we filed out of camp on 
to the muddy track. Anxious to avoid exposure to the mid- 
day sun, I went on ahead as quickly as I could. Just after 
daybreak, on turning a sharp corner, I surprised a herd of five 
sable antelope {Hippotragus niger, Harr.), which dashed off at 
once through the jungle. Had I known that this was the only 
time that I should have seen this, the noblest as well as one 
of the rarest of African antelopes, the temptation to follow them 
would have been irresistible. A few paces farther on was the 
fresh " spoor " or track of a lion, which appeared to have only 
just crossed the path. Probably it was stalking the herd when 
I came up, and had occupied the attention of the antelopes, so 
that I was allowed to approach close to them before they 
noticed me. 

A sharp march of ten miles brought us to Butchuma, where 
we rested till two in the afternoon. Then we started off again, 
to try to reach a camping-place at the end of the road cut 
through the jungle. At six o'clock, however, we found a pool, 
and, as Omari was far behind with a sick Askari, I decided to 
camp there. We started again before dawn for a march, which 
the men said would take nine hours, to the camp at Maungu. 
Soon, to our great regret, we reached the end of the road ; we 
had then to follow a native path, which twisted and twined in 
every direction through the scrub. This is here so dense that 
it is impossible to go straight ahead without cutting a way. 
When, therefore, the natives began to traverse the district, they 
had to follow the game tracks ; and the path thus made has 
since been rigidly adhered to. We could often see our goal, 
the peak of Maungu, rising through the scrub, apparently near 
at hand. Sometimes it was on our right, and as often on our 

68 ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

left ; occasionally we were walking directly away from it. But 
we had to follow the trail in all its twining, for every attempt 
at a short cut ended by an entanglement in thorns and creepers. 
Shortly after eight o'clock we reached three pools, known 
as " Mawiza Matattu." We halted there for a short rest, and 
then plunged again into the maze. This was unwise. The 
midday heat was too much for me, and brought on an attack 
of bilious fever. I had to rest till the afternoon under the 
shade of some trees. When I started again I could only go 
slowly, and the path through the scrub seemed interminable. 
At length, however, we began to ascend the hill. Great 
candelabra -shaped euphorbias and rock exposures became 
numerous. The path rose to a depression in the ridge, and 
then descended to the camping-ground. This is situated on a 
terrace at the height of 2200 feet, about 500 feet above the 
plain, across which it commands a glorious view. Forty miles 
to the north, on the other side of the river Sabaki, is the long 
low line of the lava-capped plateau of Yatta ; sixty-five miles 
to the east-north-east the rounded dome of Mangea can be 
discerned upon the skyline. A few miles to the west the 
" Nyika " ends abruptly at the foot of the Taita Mountains, 
whose rugged crests and precipitous slopes form a pleasant 
contrast to the monotonous uniformity of the plain. But the 
sun was setting, and I could not afford to waste the few minutes 
of daylight even on such a view. I went on to camp as quickly 
as I could to read a round of angles with a roughly improvised 
plane table. 

The view at sunrise next morning was weird and grand ; 
the whole plain was covered in mist, through which rose the 
ridges of Taita, tinted for a few minutes with a ruddy glow. 
The wind whipped the upper surface of the mist into wave-like 
undulations, and tore the crests of the billows into shreds, or 
cut them off, and carried them away as streaks of cloud. We 
waited till the sun had dispersed the mist, and then, in a 
steamy atmosphere, crossed the last twelve miles of the plain, 
and pitched our camp beside a mountain stream at Ndara. 

In the afternoon I scrambled up the hillside, and collected 
some specimens of liverworts from the rocks below a waterfall. 
Among other products of this excursion were some specimens 
of a wild banana. In the evening, on the plain, I got a 


puff-adder of the same species {ClotJio arietans, Merr.) as that 
met with at the Cape, but which here attains a much larger 
size. Next day I added to my collection a Zanzibari, who had 
deserted from some previous expedition. I caught him quite 
by accident. He was watching the caravan from a hiding- 
place in some bushes about a quarter of a mile from our path. 
I came up behind him after a branch excursion to some rocks. 
1 took him prisoner, and placed him in charge of my boy 
Philip and an Askari, to whom I promised the reward paid for 
a captured deserter when the man was handed over to the 
Company's officials at Tzavo. Later on, however, he succeeded 
in making his escape. 

During this day's march we had to ford the Voi, which, as 
it was in full flood, was rather exhausting to the porters. The 
river is but a small one, but it flows through a swamp so 
choked by vegetation as to be impenetrable, except along the 
courses of the various branches of the stream. We worked our 
way along the channels, on both sides of which rushes, papyrus, 
and sedges rose as a wall ten feet in height. In places the 
plants met overhead, and then we had to creep along the 
tunnel thus formed, cutting away the lower stems so as to raise 
the roof and allow the porters to carry the loads through. In 
some places the floods had piled a barricade of vegetation 
across the channel, and this we had to clear away. As most 
of this time we were standing up to our shoulders in rapidly 
flowing water, we were very glad when we reached the northern 
margin of the swamp. 

The men wanted to camp here, and as it was almost one 
o'clock I was quite prepared to do so. But Omari said it was 
unnecessary, and suggested that we should rest here for a mid- 
day meal and then go to a camping-place three hours farther 
on, at the foot of the mountain of Ndi. I thought this unwise ; 
but, wishing to hasten, and not to check, the pace of the 
caravan, I did not like to discourage any excess of energy on the 
part of my headman. I was hesitating as to the decision when 
two of the porters insolently refused to go any farther, and 
began to " cheek " Omari. That settled it at once. Orders 
were given to the men to be ready to start for Ndi in an hour 
and a half's time. The decision proved to be a mistake. The 
passage of the Voi had been so fatiguing that an extra march 

^o ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

ought not to have been attempted. The result was that some 
of the men did not get into camp till after nine o'clock, and 
they were all thoroughly tired out. It would not have done, 
however, to have confessed the mistake to the porters ; so 
when some of the sulky ones came up to me to say that they 
were going back to Mombasa if they were to be marched like 
that, I merely remarked that they knew what they might expect 
when they arrived there. I advised them to go if they were 
very anxious to qualify for two years' hard labour in the chain- 
gang on the Uganda road. It was obvious, however, that some 
of the weaker men were too exhausted to proceed next day, and 
I decided to give the caravan a day's rest. This I did with the 
less reluctance, as I was very anxious to ascend the peak of 
Ndi, the highest mountain of this group, in order to compare 
the flora of its higher slopes with that of its base and of the 
adjacent plains. 

At daybreak next morning I started from camp with a 
couple of the Askari ; we followed the course of a small stream, 
which came plunging down the mountain side in a series of 
picturesque cascades. To force a way straight up the slope was 
impossible, owing to the denseness of the vegetation. We tried 
to do so, but were soon glad to take advantage of a path which 
wound up the face of the mountain to some Taita villages on 
the upper slopes. The path was well planned for security ; it 
was arranged to lead occasionally across the face of an almost 
vertical cliff, where the foothold was reduced to a few knobs, or 
to a narrow ledge of rock. Many of the tracks in the Alps 
which are dignified with the name of " mauvais pas " are safe 
in comparison with these. That the natives can pass along 
them with heavy loads of food on their heads is a great testi- 
mony to their sureness of foot and steadiness of nerve. At 
first I thought that these rock-traverses were only short cuts, 
and that the main path ran elsewhere. But it was not so ; the 
arrangement has been planned to enable the natives to keep 
their mountain fastnesses safe from the marauding Masai, who 
could not force them if defended from above by the natives with 
boulders, and with bows and poisoned arrows. 

After a gentle ramble for two hours up the hillside, stop- 
ping here and there on the way to collect, we reached the 
meadows and valleys, in which are situated the villages and 


shambas of the Wa-taita. Only a few months previously the 
natives had quarrelled with a European caravan ; they had 
dammed up the stream, and so cut off the water supply from 
the camp below. For this they had been so severely punished 
that I felt doubtful as to my reception. I found them, how- 
ever, in a most friendly mood. They loaded my two men with 
presents of cobs of green maize, pumpkins, and sugar cane, and 
gave me a few eggs. The terrace beside the village com- 
manded a good view of the upper part of the ridge, and I was 
thus able to decide on the best route to the summit. The 
headman of the village lent me two men as guides. A sharp 
walk soon brought us to the ridge, and we went southward 
along it, until at half-past eleven we reached the margin of the 
clump of trees upon the summit. The guides and my own 
men refused to go farther, as they said the wood was the abode 
of evil spirits and they dared not enter. I left them to light a 
fire, while I pushed on through the shrubs alone. This, how- 
ever, was a waste of time, except in as far as it satisfied my 
climbing conscience. There was no view from the summit, and 
I had to make my sketches and observations from the edge of 
the wood. We boiled the water for the thermometers, and 
obtained data from which I subsequently calculated the altitude 
at 5640 feet. 

I was interested to find a dense growth of the common 
English bracken on the higher part of the ridge. I did not 
like to accept it as the same species without a close examina- 
tion, and tore up some feet of the long underground stem (or 
rhizome) to see if I could detect any difference in this part of 
the plant. While doing so I came upon a striking case of 
mimicry ; an insect that lives among the dead leaves below the 
bracken so exactly resembled them in colour and in form that 
I should not have noticed it, had it not moved when I began 
to scrape away the soil. 

During the descent we kept farther along the ridge to the 
north until we reached a col, which appeared white when seen 
from a distance. We found that both the depression and the 
colour were due to a reef of quartz which cropped out there. 
This was so brittle that it wore away more rapidly than the 
tougher rocks on either side. We were then compelled to beat 
a hasty retreat owing to the threatening aspect of the weather. 

72 ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

We reached our guides' village, and picked up our burden of 
provisions. I invited the natives to come with us for some 
return presents, and then rushed down the path to camp. But 
the storm broke upon us before we reached shelter ; two 
minutes after the rain commenced we were wet to the skin. 

Shortly after my return to camp I had the unexpected 
pleasure of a visit from Mr. George Wilson, a man well known 
to all readers of Captain Lugard's Rise of our East African 
Empire. He was then cutting a road to Kibwezi at the 
expense of the late Sir William Mackinnon, and had struck 
camp at Butchuma only the day before I arrived there. He 
had wisely travelled by a route to the west of the mountain 
group of Ndara, as he knew how troublesome the ford of the 
Voi would be after the recent rains. I had thus passed him 
on the road, and was afraid I should not meet him. I was 
delighted to see him, for I hoped to be greatly reassured by him 
as to the practicability of my plans. He was reported — and 
with truth — to be a man of such patience, tact, and good 
temper, that he is extremely successful in making friends with 
the natives. In this his facility for languages stands him in 
good stead, for it enables him to dispense with interpreters, and 
to communicate with the natives directly. He had had, more- 
over, great experience of the two tribes with which I was most 
likely to come into conflict, the Kikuyu and the Masai. He 
had lived for some time among the former at Dagoreti, and 
was a great friend of Tereri, the head of the Naivasha Masai. 
Unlike most men who have had much intercourse with the 
Masai, he has great faith in their intelligence and faithfulness, 
in addition to sharing the general admiration of their pluck and 
social organisation. So enthusiastic is he about the Masai that 
he is known in Mombasa as the " Masai faddist " — although a 
raiding party of this tribe had once attacked and routed a 
caravan of which Mr. Wilson was in command, and he only 
escaped after keeping the enemy at bay for a few minutes, by 
peppering them with buckshot from an eight -bore elephant 
rifle. I therefore hoped to receive from Mr. Wilson valuable 
advice from his knowledge of the people ; and also encourage- 
ment as to the prospects of success, both on account of his friend- 
ship with the natives, and because, as a rule, the nearer danger 
is approached, the less it is reported to be. The advice I received, 


the encouragement he could not give. He told me, to my dis- 
appointment, that though he should not himself refuse to under- 
take such a journey with such a force as mine, he should regard 
it as a risky experiment, and that it was far more dangerous for 
a raw recruit, ignorant alike of the languages, the country, and 
the people. He said that in the present condition of the Kikuyu 
country, I should certainly have to fight my way through it. 
However, I consoled myself by the thought that Mr. Wilson's 
last recollections of the Kikuyu were most unpleasant. He had 
been in command of the station at Dagoreti in the Kikuyu 
country during a very stormy period. He had been besieged by 
the natives, and his communications cut off. He held the 
fort till his ammunition was exhausted, for the supplies sent 
him from the coast failed to reach him. His position was 
then absolutely untenable ; so he sallied forth, and cut his 
way through his besiegers to the fort at Machakos. Having 
there obtained the ammunition that had been sent for him, 
he returned to Dagoreti, recaptured the position, and rebuilt 
the station, which had been burnt by the natives. Later on, 
however, he was persuaded to retire by the leaders of a 
caravan returning from Uganda. 

But I obtained a great deal of most useful advice, and we 
sat up chatting in his cosy, artistically-upholstered tent till the 
early hours of the morning. Then I tore myself away from 
this mine of information, and went back to write out notes and 
press plants until, at dawn, we left our camp and marched again 
into the " barra." 

Two further marches brought us to the station of Tzavo, 
a fort erected in 1890 by the British East Africa Company in 
order to stop Masai raids down the valley of the Sabaki. For 
this purpose its garrison of twelve Beluchi " Kiroboto " under a 
Goanese clerk was quite inadequate, even if the men had been 
trustworthy. These " Kiroboto " were part of a force of Asiatic 
mercenaries raised by the Sultan of Zanzibar. Their name was 
derived from that of the soldiers of the Sultan of Hyderabad, 
from whose army the nucleus of the force was obtained. Of 
the reliance that can be placed upon these men I had an illustra- 
tion on the return journey, when the commander of the fort had 
gone away for a few days. Before his departure he had locked 
up all the ammunition, as the men were not to be trusted with 

74 ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

such dangerous material. There was nothing, therefore, to 
prevent any Masai who might be raiding in the district from 
capturing the stores and spearing the defenceless garrison ! 

The fort consists of a group of huts, surrounded by a three- 
pile stockade and a thorn " boma " or hedge. It is prettily 
situated beside the ford across the Tzavo river, in a grove of 
Hyphaene palms {HyphcBne tJiebaica, Mart.), which were the first 
palms we had seen since leaving the coast. 

In company with the Goanese commandant I spent a 
pleasant afternoon catching lizards and scorpions, and digging 
up the skulls of some Wa-kamba who had been killed by the 

I had, however, the disappointment of losing my first man. 
I had be^n exceptionally fortunate in not having had a single 
deserter, and was now beginning to feel safe from this anxiety. 
The men had, however, suffered a good deal from illness, and a 
porter was found to be too ill to proceed : he was one of the 
two men in my force who had been with Count Teleki in his 
great expedition to Kenya and Basso Narok. I was therefore 
especially reluctant to spare him. He was, however, suffering 
from a disease that was incurable on the march, and it would 
have been sheer murder to have made him continue the journey 
in the rainy season. I had therefore to give him his discharge, 
and arrange for him to be kept at Tzavo till he was well 
enough to return to the coast with some passing caravan. 

After leaving the station at Tzavo we had to proceed with 
greater care. Our road intersected those used by the Masai of 
the districts of Nyiri and Matumbato, to the north of Kilima 
Njaro, when marching to raid in the districts of Ukamba, on 
the Tana or near the coast ; we had therefore to keep close 
together on the march, ready at any moment to repel attack. 
The Askari, Ramathan Aperti, and I led the van, keeping a 
sharp lookout ahead for any sign of Masai. I had thus to keep 
to the path, and my opportunities for collecting were much 
restricted. More precious time was also occupied in teaching 
the men a simple drill. I had seen too much when with the 
former expedition, of the results of the attempt to train excit- 
able natives as if they were British troops, to be inclined to 
repeat the process. It appeared probable that if we had to 
fight, that we should have to do so in forest or scrub, where 


formal operations would be impossible. So I made no attempt 
to teach the men how to wheel like a company of guards in a 
barrack square, or march in column like a girls' school ; but 
simply trained them in skirmishing drill, outpost duty, forming 
square, and volley firing. As there was no ammunition to 
spare in practice, we had to check the men's smartness in the 
last exercise by the click of the hammers of the rifles. The 
men did not seem very courageous, and had an ingrained terror 
of Masai ; but I was consoled by seeing that they had a good 
idea of bush fighting, and chose their positions with judgment. 

In the evening Ramathan mounted the pile of goods and 
harangued the camp. He told the men that they must keep 
their guns ready beside them and their fires burning all night ; 
and that any one who moved out of camp after dark, without 
a burning brand from the fires, would be shot. A party of 
Wa-kamba traders, returning to their homes, joined us here, and 
begged permission to accompany us as a protection from the 
Masai ; to them we gave even stricter orders as to their 
behaviour during the night. Here I had to begin the practice 
of going round camp several times during the night to see that 
the sentries were awake. As breakfast was at five, I generally 
felt sleepy when I went to bed, usually about eleven. I there- 
fore always drank a cup of strong cold tea just before turning 
in. This rendered my sleep so light that any movement in 
camp disturbed me. I soon acquired the habit of waking at 
regular intervals through the night. 

That our precautions were not needless we saw next day, 
when we found some fresh footprints crossing our path in a 
north-easterly direction. Some deep square punctures made by 
spear points, and occasional marks where a heavy shield had 
rubbed along the ground, showed that the track was that of a 
party of Masai. But for the day's delay at Ndi we should have 
spent the previous night at the pools of Kinani, and should 
probably have seen something of this party. Double guard was 
kept next night. At three in the morning we were roused by 
a shot. We all sprang at once to our places, ready to repel 
attack. The sentry had seen a dark object sneaking up to 
camp, and had fired at it ; it fled at once, and from its howl I 
concluded that it was only a hyena. Some of the porters, 
however, maintained that it probably was a Masai scout, and 


that he had imitated a hyena's cry to throw us off our guard. 
This was just possible, so we kept a sharp lookout till morning. 

Our next camp was beside a dry river-bed, at a place of 
which the name has two different forms according to the two 
different hypotheses as to its meaning. One etymology makes it 
Mto wa Undei, meaning the country of hawks, while the other 
derives the name from that of the son of a great chief of the 
Wa-kamba, who was killed here by the Masai ; according to 
this, the more probable theory, the name should be spelt Mtoto 
wa Ande. 

We were here near the borders of the district of Kikumbuliu, 
the first inhabited by the Wa-kamba. Early next day we came 
to their plantations or shambas. We passed through these, 
and camped beside some wells dug by the Suahili traders, in a 
valley known as Masongaleni. As our food supply was again 
nearly exhausted, Omari proposed that we should rest here for 
a day to buy a fresh stock, instead of at Kibwezi, where it was 
said to be very expensive. We therefore fired a couple of 
shots as a signal that food was wanted, and as an invitation to 
the natives to come in and open a market or " soko." Women 
soon appeared with calabashes of flour and plaited baskets with 
grain. After a long discussion the price was fixed at fifteen 
strings of small pink beads for six kibaba, or about nine pounds, 
of beans. As each woman brought only two or three kibaba, 
the purchase of as much food as we wanted proceeded very 
slowly. We could not get enough that day, so I left Omari to 
continue the market, and went on with a few men to Kibwezi. 
I was anxious to get a day's rest there in order to see the 
experimental plantation of the East African Scottish Mission, 
and have a chat with the missionaries. The station is situated 
in some woods on an old lava sheet around the sources of the 
river Kibwezi. 

The rain fell in torrents as we crossed a swamp and entered 
the Mission grounds. But this had become too familiar to 
diminish the pleasure which the sight of the fine timber trees of 
this oasis gave me. Any one who has experienced the delight 
of suddenly entering one of the chestnut groves of the Italian 
slopes of the Alps, after weeks among the monotonous fir-woods 
of the Swiss highlands, will understand the joy with which, 
after weeks in miserable scrub, I entered the forest of Kibwezi. 


The Mission was founded in 1891 by a party of Scotch 
philanthropists, who were dissatisfied with the results of the work 
of existing missions. They therefore resolved to start a fresh one 
on a purely industrial and non-sectarian basis. Dr. Stewart, the 
head of the well-known Lovedale Mission in Bechuanaland, was 
sent into the country to find a suitable site. He selected 
Kibwezi, from its apparent healthiness, the excellence of its 
water, and its convenience as a place of call, it being about 
half-way from Mombasa to Machakos. No doubt the beauty 
of the situation was partly responsible for the choice. 

The two principal objections to the site are that, owing to 
the luxuriance of the surrounding vegetation, it appears to be 
very unhealthy, and that an Industrial Mission ought to have 
been settled • in a well-populated district. At Kibwezi the 
natives only number some two or three hundred, and they are 
not a promising set of pupils. For years they have been 
demoralised by Masai oppression and by intercourse with 
Suahili caravans. They appear to do nothing except for 
payment, and the children require higher wages for attendance 
at school than their parents do for work in the plantations. 

At the time of my visit the staff consisted of three Euro- 
peans, of whom Mr. Watson was the only member of the 
original party of missionaries. The superintendent of the 
station, Dr. Charters, had arrived a few weeks previously. He 
will be known to readers of In Darkest Africa, for he was 
in charge of the mission-steamer, the Peace, which carried Mr. 
Stanley up the Congo from the Pool to the mouth of the 

The British East Africa Company had given the Mission a 
grant of 100 square miles of land around the station. This is 
being cleared, and an experimental farm has been established 
upon it. Mr. Pattison, a gardener, who came out with Dr. 
Charters, was then trying to rear the vine and various fruit 
trees, as well as testing the suitability of many different kinds 
of grain. 

As Mr. Watson had been rather unwell, at Dr. Charters' 
suggestion he took a holiday next day, and we went off together 
for a day's fishing and collecting along the Kibwezi river. This 

1 Dr. Charters disappeared when out shooting near Kibwezi in the autumn of 1894 ; 
there is now practically no doubt that he was murdered by Masai. 

78 ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

first rises on the Mission grounds, and then plunges into the lava 
and flows through a subterranean channel for a couple of miles. 
It rises again in some pools. In these we caught some fish 
of two new species : one, a Barbel {Barbus tanensis, Gthr.), 
occurred also in the Tana and in the Guaso el Narua, south of 
Lake Baringo ; the other, Oreochromis niger (Gthr,), I did not 
find elsewhere. In the woods we found some fungi, the 
remarkable case of insect mimicry, illustrated by the frontis- 
piece and described on p. 7 1 , and a black variety of a small 
mammal {Macroscelides rufescens, Pet.). 

It was by far the most successful day's collecting I had 
had. More can be obtained here in a week than in a year in 
the open barra. In the forest clearings butterflies of most 
gorgeous colours occurred in great profusion. But as I had 
hurt my leg a few days before, I could not run after them. The 
porters sent out to collect them brought back a good number, 
but they were all terribly damaged owing to the men's clumsy 
methods of capture. As Mr. F. J. Jackson had made a large 
collection during his residence at Kibwezi, I threw all mine 
away in disgust. 

Next morning the men started ahead of me for the march 
to the Mkindu river. I followed later with Mr. Watson. Just 
as we were starting I caught my only glimpse of the snowy 
dome of Kibo, the higher of the two summits of Kilima Njaro. 
I was within range of view of this mountain for several weeks, 
during the journey up and on the return march. This, how- 
ever, was the only occasion on which I saw it. All the rest of 
the time the mists and clouds obscured it. It was then visible 
only for a few moments ; the clouds closed round it again, 
before I could draw my prismatic compass from its case, though 
it was slung ready by my side. 

The gravel path across the Mission grounds ended at the 
edge of a rough tract of lava, which showed the irregular ropy 
structure that forms only on the actual surface of a flow. It 
was, therefore, clearly more recent in date than any lava we 
had previously seen. Sir Gerald PortaP has graphically described 
the uncomfortable nature of the track across it. The rock was so 
rough and the edges so sharp that his boots were cut to ribbons, 
and it is therefore easy to imagine how severe a trial it was to the 

^ Mission to Uganda (1894), p. 64. 


porters with their bare feet and heavy loads. The men went 
so slowly across this that I soon came up with them, and we 
marched on together over the gap at the southern end of the 
ridge of Bwinzau. The porters wanted to camp here beside 
some pools, though it was only half-way to the Mkindu river. 
Mr. Watson assured me that the latter was the regulation camp- 
ing-place, so I hardened my heart against the men's entreaties, 
and told them they must follow me to the Mkindu. Mr. Watson 
returned, and I went on with an Askari and a boy, in the hope 
of getting some shooting on the way. I reached the camping- 
ground shortly before dark, and Omari came in soon after with 
the " fly," or outer sheet, of the tent. The river-bed was lined by 
a species of date-palm {Ph(£nix), after the native name of which 
(Mkindu) the river is called. The bed was quite dry, but this 
did not cause us anxiety, as a heavy storm was threatening, 
and began very soon after our arrival. The locality has a bad 
reputation, as a Masai warpath follows the course of the river. 
We examined this, and found that a party of Masai had passed 
along it that day. We therefore did not dare to light a fire. 
Omari and I had to take up stations at the opposite ends of 
the path that ran through the belt of thorn scrub in which the 
camp was situated. The Askari and the boy Philip, who were 
the two prize cowards of the caravan, were in such a fright that 
they were useless. It poured with rain, and the hours during 
which I stood in the narrow path were the reverse of pleasant. 
At eight o'clock the cook came up with the news that the 
porters, at the instigation of the Kiringozi, Wadi Hamis, had 
resolved to throw down their loads and desert. As I knew, 
however, that Omari would never have come on had there been 
any chance of this, I dismissed it as " bluff," and continued my 
sentry duty. At nine o'clock, however, I became seriously 
alarmed, for I thought the porters might have met Masai, and 
prepared to start back with Omari. We were just drinking 
some cocoa, stirred up in rain water, to fortify ourselves for the 
march, w^hen we heard a rustle in the palms on the opposite 
bank of the stream. We stood to arms. To our intense relief 
we found it was a porter. Fundi Mabruk, who was hastening to 
tell us that the rest of the men were close at hand. 

They soon arrivcd^cold, wet, miserable, and most of them 
ashamed of their fit of sulks. It was too dark to arrange 

8o ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

camp properly, and we could not light a fire, so we put up 
the fly of the tent and huddled together beneath it. To cheer 
the men I told them stories, my boy helping out my limited 
stock of the native language ; the ever merry Mwini Mharo 
sang us hunting songs, while Omari described the miseries of 
the march through the forests of " Darkest Africa." 

At daybreak I paraded the men, and scolded them for their 
misconduct. Then through a raw cold mist we left our dismal 
resting-place, and struck out again into the't)arra. When near 
the next camping-ground, beside the Mto Kiboko or Hippo- 
potamus river, I let the men go on and stopped to collect. 
I found some chameleons, and was bottling them, when my 
attendant pointed out a snake who was eyeing us viciously. 
Its head was just thrust out of a hole in the side of one of the 
mounds made by white ants. I fired at it with my shot-gun, 
and the snake glided swiftly on to the ground, and I thought 
it was coming for me.^ But it stopped, writhed its body into 
knots in agony, and then darted again for its hole. Anxious 
to secure it, I sprang forward and seized its tail. I held on till 
I could place the butt end of my gun on it. I got my hand 
free none too soon, for it came up again as soon as it found 
that it could not escape. I broke its back by a blow with 
the cleaning-rod of the gun, and its powers of mischief were 
destroyed. The two men with me refused to touch the snake. 
They said it was " Uchungu, uchimgu sana " (Poisonous, very, 
very poisonous). As it was still wriggling, I had to empty 
the collecting gear out of my satchel, put the snake into 
it, and carry it on to camp myself Dr. Gunther tells me 
that the snake {Dendraspis polylepis, Gthr.) is one of the most 
poisonous of known reptiles, and is worse than the Indian 
cobra. It usually lives on trees, and has not been met with 
before in this region of Africa, or known' to live in holes. It 
has probably acquired this habit, owing to the absence of trees 
from the plains in which it lives in this district. 

The camp that night was an especially dangerous one. 
Readers of Sir Gerald Portal's Mission to Uganda may remember 
that he describes the massacre of a Suahili caravan at this place 

^ Mr. C. W. Hobley tells me that a snake, which, from his description, is probably 
the same species, charged him in the Mumoni district some loo miles to the north : he 
only stopped it by blowing off its head with his riiie. 


only six months previously. We kept an especially vigilant 
watch ; but as it rained continuously from four in the afternoon 
till eleven o'clock the next morning, I felt that we were safe, 
for Masai are reported to lose most of their energy when cold 
and wet. 

After the "Kiboko" we had to cross the "Salt River," and then 
make the last two days' journey over the " Nyika." The country 
began to rise more rapidly. We had fine views to the west across 
a lava plain to the craters of the Kyulu chain, and before us rose 
the sharp ridges of the Iveti Mountains. The first of these was 
a conical peak named Ngu. Owing to its position far out on 
the plains it forms a splendid watch-tower, and on it Wa-kamba 
scouts are always stationed, so as to give timely warning of the 
approach of any raiding parties of Masai. We soon found 
further proof of the activity of these fieebooters. Scattered 
over the path were broken boxes and bottles, which were 
being sent to Sir Gerald Portal's party in Uganda. We heard 
at the next station that a caravan, laden with reserve stores for 
the Commissioner, had been attacked here a few weeks before 
and all the loads destroyed. Thrice during the past three 
months the Masai had routed caravans along this section of 
the road. 

Two days later we reached the ridge of Nzaoi, and camped 
on a platform at its base. Nzaoi is a narrow ridge of gneiss, 
sloping gradually to the north, but facing the south with a 
precipitous cliff nearly 2000 feet in height.^ Lugard well 
describes it as " the massive sentinel that guards the gate to 
the heart of Africa." We were all delighted to pass through 
the gate from the barren wastes of the Nyika into the fertile 
valleys of Ukamba. Magile, the " Mzee" or chief of the district, 
called to see me and ask for a present. This I promised him 
if his people would bring us food for sale. He said they had 
none, as Sir Gerald Portal's caravan and one that had recently 
returned from Uganda had eaten the district bare. He told 
us, however, that neither of these caravans had purchased any 
food at Kilungu, a long day's march farther to the north, 
and there I could buy as much as I wanted. He said he 
would do his best to get us a little, but his efforts were not 

1 The camping-ground is at the height of 3700 feet ; the summit of the peak at 
about 6000 feet. 


sufficiently successful to gain the present he coveted. Some 
eggs only were brought. I was away at the time, vainly trying 
to boil the thermometers in a hurricane of wind and rain on 
the summit of the peak. When I returned, wet and weary, I 
was cheered by the promise of omelette. With the promise I 
had to be content. The natives seem to regard it a sinful waste 
to eat eggs, as there is so much more meat on a chicken. So 
they try to hatch all that are laid, and no egg's chance is 
spoiled by lack of patience. If nothing happens to it in three 
weeks, it is allowed three months. Eggs which remain obdurate 
are at length removed and stored up to await the arrival of a 
caravan. My cook had accepted the guarantee that the " nest" 
eggs offered had been laid yesterday, and bought the lot. Their 
contents, however, were more solid than savoury, and no addition 
to our food supply. 

Unable to refill our empty sacks at Nzaoi, we rushed on 
next day to Kilungu. After our arrival in the land of plenty 
the chief came to see me, and showed me a copy of a treaty 
he had made with the British East Africa Company, by 
which he was pledged to supply food to passing caravans. 
Though it was then but little after noon, for we had made a very 
early start, the native potentate said it was impossible for his 
people to bring us anything that day. He left us, promising 
that we should have as much as we wanted on the morrow. 
After this not a single native came near us. Early the next 
afternoon, as the people still held aloof, I resolved to go and 
interview them. It was now obvious that the wily chief had 
beguiled us into stopping there, so as to prevent our going to 
some more friendly villages farther on. My men were very 
angry, and clamoured to be allowed to go and seize food. I 
should, under the circumstances, have been quite justified in 
doing this ; but I was anxious to avoid fighting anywhere, and 
it seemed to me that the people at Mombasa would not think 
much of my leadership, if I could not carry a caravan up to 
Machakos, without quarrelling with the natives on the road. 
But I considered I ought to go and protest. So I took twenty 
men, crossed the river, and marched to the nearest village. On 
the way we captured an old man, who was too infirm to run 
away. He told us that the natives had plenty of food, but 
would not sell it to white men ; he informed us that they had 


used the last twenty-four hours' delay to remove all supplies 
from the villages into hiding-places in the hills. We let him 
go, and then resumed our march to the largest village. The 
natives beat their war-drums ; the women and children fled to 
hide in the dense scrub ; the men, armed with bows and 
poisoned arrows, took their places beside the loop-holes through 
the walls of the village. As we passed beside it we could see 
the warriors with their arrows ready strung, and it was only 
by threatening to shoot the first of my men who fired, that 
I managed to prevent a fight. The natives made no effort 
to stop us as we entered their shambas ; these we crossed to 
the foot of the highest peak in this group of mountains, 
which was occupied by a crowd of natives, I was very anxious 
to get into communication with the people, and as a sign of 
friendliness, left my men behind and climbed up to a shoulder, 
accompanied only by an interpreter and my boy. Two elders 
came to meet us ; we told them that we wanted to be friends, 
and scolded them for the behaviour of the chief. We were soon 
surrounded by a crowd of natives, armed with knives, clubs, and 
the primitive hoes, which are their only agricultural implements. 
The three of us kept back to back, and thus we held our 
" shauri." As my gun and the two men's rifles were loaded 
with buckshot we were perfectly safe ; a single discharge 
would have knocked over a sufficient number of the natives to 
have frightened off the remainder. So I jeered at them, told 
them we were going to the top of their biggest hill, to show 
that we did not care a jot for the lot of them, and assured 
them that if we wished, we could help ourselves to all the food 
in the district. I asked two of the elders to come up with us 
in order to tell me the names of the neighbouring hills. We 
then continued the ascent, accompanied by a crowd of about 
a hundred men, vv^ho were not allowed, however, to approach 
within twenty yards. We rested for half an hour on the summit, 
while I boiled the thermometers and made a sketch map of the 
surrounding country. The former observations gave results 
which fix the height of this peak of Etwa at 6120 feet. 

The elders offered me a goat as a present, and begged me 
to wait till one could be brought. For this generous offer I 
was not as grateful as they expected. I explained I had no 
intention of being caught on their hills in the dark, and was 

84 ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

therefore going back at once. I promised, however, that if 
they brought their present down to camp, they should be 
suitably rewarded. Of course it never came. The idea was 
simply to delay our return till dark, when we should have 
been at their mercy. 

As we had ascended by the south-east ridge, the return 
was made down the south face. We rejoined the porters 
and marched back to camp. On the way I let the porters 
help themselves to some sugar-cane, as a protest against the 
behaviour of the natives. The men grumbled at not being 
allowed to loot a village, for they said sugar-cane was " water 
and not food." Had I then known the whole story of the past 
treatment of European caravans by these Wa-kilungu, I 
might not have been contented with the mere seizure of a few 
sugar-canes. I only knew that the people here had quarrelled 
with a caravan, and been severely chastised in consequence by 
Mr. Ainsworth and Captain Nelson. I therefore thought that 
the natives were indulging in a not unnatural fit of the sulks, 
and hoped, by leaving them alone, to help them to a happier frame 
of mind. So we fasted once again, and next day, with belts 
drawn one hole tighter, marched on to a more friendly clan. 

We obtained abundance of food at Zuni, where the natives 
told us the people of Kilungu were not Wa-kamba. Mr. 
Ainsworth subsequently informed me that they were reported 
to be Kikuyu who had been driven from their own country 
and had settled at Kilungu. They now speak a Kikamba 
patois, but their features are far more of the Kikuyu than of 
the Kikamba type. 

At this camp an incident occurred which very literally 
clouded my prestige among the men. It was their Christ- 
mas Day, and they were all eager to get the first glimpse of 
the new moon. An eclipse of the sun was due the same day, 
as predicted by the Greenwich Almanac. On the west coast 
it was a total eclipse, but in this region it was only partial, as 
the sun set half an hour after the moon's shadow began to 
creep across the solar disc. I had said nothing about it, as 
the weather was so bad that I expected we should not be able 
to see it. The afternoon of the eclipse, however, was so bright 
and cloudless that I was tempted to prophesy. So when the 
men told me about their new moon, I said a piece of the sun 


would be bitten out of its edge a little before sunset. Just 
before the time of the eclipse, a great bank of cloud rose 
from the western plains and completely hid the sun from view. 
I did my best to explain that the piece had been bitten out 
all the same, but that the cloud had prevented our seeing it. 
But the men thought this a very lame excuse. I overheard 
one man say to another : " If Mpokwa ^ could bite a piece out 
of the sun, he could have kept those clouds out of the way." 
For some days after this, whenever the sun went behind a cloud, 
the porters would ask if I were not going to bite a piece out of it. 

Our next camp was on the site of one occupied by Count 
Teleki on his return march to the coast in 1889, on the 
summit of the pass of Kwazome (4750 feet), which is named 
after Kwathome, the chief of the district. We had had a 
long march, and I therefore made my usual afternoon excur- 
sion alone. I climbed to the summit of Tututha (6050 
feet), the ridge that forms the eastern boundary of the pass. 
From this I had a glorious view to the north-east, over the 
plain which here runs up to the foot of the Iveti Mountains. 

Next day I explored the ridge of Givoni, which forms the 
western side of the pass, and had a pleasant climb to the 
summit (6780 feet) over some rather difficult rocks. I joined 
my Askari again at a col upon the ridge, which he reached 
by a path, as he did not care to follow me up the rocks. We 
then struck straight across country toward the hill of Machakos, 
swimming two flooded rivers on the way. At one of these, a 
party of Wa-kamba women was waiting beside the ford for the 
flood to subside.. I modestly went up stream to find a more 
secluded point at which to cross ; but as they did not every 
day have the chance of seeing a white man swim a river, they 
resolved not to lose their opportunity, and so followed up the 
opposite bank. So there was nothing for it but to waive 
prejudice and cross in front of them. It was lucky that they 
came, for one of my boots fell into the river as I was throwing 
it across, and had not one of the shameless damsels rescued it, 
the priceless treasure would have been lost. I almost lost my 
best interpreter, for my attendant at first refused to cross, as 
he said the river was full of crocodiles, and that the current 
was too swift. As he could swim quite as well as I could, I 

^ i.e. "loaded pockets," my native name. 

86 ON THE UGANDA ROAD part ii 

advised him to stick to one excuse in the future, and con- 
tinued my way to Machakos. Afraid of being left alone, the 
Askari at length plunged in ; but he swallowed some water, 
lost his head, and was swept down stream, until he was 
rescued by a young Mkamba warrior. 

Late the same evening, in a tremendous downpour of rain, 
we reached the British East Africa Company's station at 
Machakos. The porters had arrived there several hours pre- 
viously, and had given Mr. Ainsworth, the officer in charge, 
such a remarkable account of my habits that he was puzzled 
as to who was coming. He invited me to stay with him, and 
at once gave me some hot tea, which was very welcome. I 
was wet to the skin, and as I had forgotten to take any beads 
with me in the morning, all the food I had been able to get 
during the day was some arrowroot ("mhogo") cooked in "ghee" 
(a kind of native butter), which a Mkamba had given to me 
in exchange for my pocket-handkerchief. 

The fort of Machakos was originally founded in 1889. In 
the following year Captain Lugard recognised the value of the 
position, and greatly enlarged and strengthened the station. It 
is situated in a rich food country, and the meteorological returns 
show that it is better adapted for European colonisation than 
any other part of British East Africa. On the neighbouring 
hills there is a dense population, and the people are enter- 
prising and industrious. In the early days of the fort they 
were hostile, and twice attempted to storm it. At the present 
time, however, their attitude is most friendly, thanks to the 
tact and skill Mr. Ainsworth displays in his administration of 
the district. Most of the work of the station is now done by 
Wa-kamba, who, under Ainsworth's influence, show that they 
are willing to work and able to learn. The mail is carried to 
Tzavo more expeditiously and economically than when Zanzi- 
bari runners were employed. The fort is garrisoned by a 
company of Wa-kamba, whose fidelity and fighting capacity 
have recently been tested. In 1894 the Masai made a 
sudden attack upon the fort, but were defeated with heavy 
loss. Mr. Ainsworth is enthusiastic about the Wa-kamba and 
the possibilities of their country ; and this is not due to an 
indiscriminate love of aborigines, for he dislikes the Somali 
more than I do, which is saying a good deal. 


My host at Machakos is a keen topographer and a good 
draughtsman. He has prepared an admirable map of western 
Ukamba, a reduced copy of part of which he kindly gave me 
on my return. I was glad to find that the names on his map 
agreed with those which I had obtained. African place-names 
are very confusing, though they probably do not vary as much as 
one would expect. It is true that the people on the opposite 
sides of a range of mountains often have different names for the 
peaks, as is also the case in the Alps. This has frequently 
led to confusion, for a traveller hearing two different names for 
a mountain or a river has concluded that there are two moun- 
tains or rivers, and marked them accordingly on his map. In 
many cases, therefore, the native names have been ignored, and 
the places called after eminent people at home. As these 
names are unknown in the district they are useless, and 
merely burden geography with a set of synonyms. In unin- 
habited regions, where there are no names, it is necessary to 
introduce them, and it is open to the first traveller who visits 
a country to propose what terms he likes. But where there 
are native names, the advantages of using them are so great 
that geographers now condemn the old practice. The Euro- 
pean names are falling into disuse and disappearing from maps, 
where those of the natives are being substituted in their stead. 



" Maneno madzo gausa ndzovu m'ndani " 
(Fair speeches turn elephants out of the garden patch). 

Giriama Proverb (W. E. Taylor). 

I SHOULD have been glad to accept Mr. Ainsworth's prof- 
fered hospitality for a few days' rest ; but I was now at the 
entrance to the country I had especially come to explore, and 
nothing could tempt me to linger on the threshold. Up to 
this point the work had not been of special interest. The 
geology was monotonous and dull, and the geography was 
fairly well known. But a change in the geological structure 
of the country was at hand. In the best existing sketch map 
of the geology of East Africa, a large tract of country to the 
west of Machakos is coloured as recent alluvium. I expected 
this would prove to be an old lake basin or a desert of wind- 
borne drift. From the hills crossed on the way to Machakos, 
I had caught through the clouds occasional glimpses of a vast 
level plain, and these had strengthened this expectation. Great 
therefore was my surprise, on reaching the summit of the last 
ridge of the Iveti Mountains, to see to the west an undulating 
prairie instead of a level plain, and that this was composed not 
of alluvium or sand, but of a hard, dark-coloured rock. Its 
extent also was greater than I had expected. Here and there 
in the foreground, bosses and ridges of gneiss, such as Lokenya 
and Koma, rose above the surface ; a few dark lines of trees 
marked the courses of the rivers. Except for these, we could 
see only a vast expanse of rolling grass-land, extending west- 
ward and southward as far as the eye could follow it. The 


rock of this prairie ended abruptly at the foot of the old gneiss 
ridge on which I stood, but it followed its outline, running 
up the valleys, round the spurs, and into the hollows of the 
mountains, just as the water of a lake adapts itself to the 
irregularities of its shore. In this, as well as in other ways, 
the view reminded me so much of that of the Snake River 
lava plains of Idaho, as seen from the western flanks of the 
Rocky Mountains, that I felt sure that this was a plain of lava 
and not of alluvium. I walked quickly down the slope to the 
nearest point where the rock could be seen, and found, as I 
expected, a lava, a coarse trachyte with very large porphyritic 
crystals of sanidine. 

The impression that the whole plain was of lava was con- 
firmed during our march across it, and I was mentally braced 
up by a crowd of new and perplexing problems. But the 
work of the caravan was a terrible tax upon my time. The 
day after leaving Machakos the box containing most of my 
sporting cartridges, and all the plants collected on the way 
from the coast, was dropped into a stream. I spent four hours 
in the effort to dry them ; but as they had been soaking in 
water for several hours before I reached camp and the acci- 
dent was reported to me, nearly all the plants were ruined. 
I was consoled for the loss at the time by the vain hope that I 
could collect another set on the return march. 

Our camp that night was a rather risky one. Major Eric 
Smith of the ist Life Guards had had an encounter with 
the Masai here, and its name was marked with a double 
asterisk on the list of dangerous camps that had been 
given me. Moreover, it was here that Mr. Jackson and Dr. 
Mackinnon had seen a " herd " of twenty-three lions, and the 
place was reported to swarm with them. Hence the sentries 
had been ordered to keep a specially careful watch. Never- 
theless, when I went round camp at a quarter past three in 
the morning, the sentry was sound asleep in his tent. I 
called out " Askari " twice without rousing him, so I woke 
Omari and showed him the sleeping sentry ; we knocked over 
the man's tent, and I kicked the culprit round the camp. The 
noise roused the porters. When they heard the cause of the 
disturbance, they created a tremendous uproar. The poor 
sentry had a very bad time of it. One porter declared he 


saw some lions just sneaking away from camp, and some 
others that they had seen some Masai. So I knew camp was 
safe for the rest of that night, and leaving the porters to 
hold an indignation meeting and abuse the culprit, I turned in 
and slept soundly until daybreak. 

I had hoped to get some antelope shooting in this district, 
for it is one of the richest game fields in Africa ; but the 
Athi river was in flood, and it was obvious at once that all 
my energies must be devoted to getting the caravan across it. 
Mr. Ainsworth had warned me that we should probably be 
delayed here, as a small caravan that had just gone on to 
Fort Smith had been obliged to stop beside the river for a 
week. The ordinary ford was quite impassable. Omari and I 
managed all but the last channel, which was only fifteen yards 
wide ; but through this the stream was rushing with such 
force that we were obliged to give it up. Omari went off in 
one direction, and I in the other, to try to find a practicable 
ford. My search was unsuccessful, but Omari found a place 
a couple of miles down stream, where the river widened out 
into a shallow. Here we crossed next day. The passage, 
however, was troublesome, especially over the flooded land on 
either bank ; for amid the sharp angular rocks were shrubs, 
whose still sharper thorns broke off in our bare feet. 

Later on the same day we had to cross the second branch 
of the Athi, which was not so broad as the first, but deeper and 
swifter. The men said we could not possibly cross, as this 
branch of the river was always worse than the other. When I 
joined them on the bank, after an ineffectual attempt to stalk 
some giraffe, the porters seemed determined not to try the 
ford that day. Omari, however, said it must be possible to 
cross, so we plunged in and raced to the other side. The 
current was more powerful than it looked, and twice knocked me 
off my feet. Omari went back for the rope while I sat on a 
rock and exhorted the porters. Fundi Mabruk and the Askari, 
Ramathan Jumma, next tried the passage, but as the latter was 
carried off his feet and dragged ashore half choked with water, 
the others preferred to wait till a rope could be fitted up across 
the river. A length (80 ft.) of Buckingham's Alpine rope went 
about half-way across ; we fastened other ropes to this and tied 
them round trees on the banks. Ramathan Jumma and I then 


took up stations in shallows, equi-distant from the bank, and 
held on to the rope to relieve the strain. Omari and two or 
three of the strongest porters then carried across all the loads, 
and the rest scrambled over along the rope. By great good 
fortune we crossed without accident, but the four of us on whom 
the brunt of the struggle fell were too tired to go farther that 
day. I had been in the water for an hour and a half, during 
which my feet and legs were numbed with cold, while my 
shoulders were being sun-blistered. 

Next morning we continued our march across the lava 
plains. During the day we were joined by a caravan of ninety 
men, under a famous old headman, Wadi Bunduki (" The 
Son of the Gun "). They were going to reinforce and carry 
mails and stores to the garrison at Fort Smith, and had been 
hastened forward so that we might traverse together the country 
inhabited by the Kikuyu. We camped a little distance from 
the forests, keeping double guard all night. Next morning we 
met twenty of the Company's soldiers, who had been sent by a 
night march to guide us. Our united forces therefore amounted 
to 150 men. The forest paths were flooded, so while wading 
along these we were safe from attack ; but when we reached the 
plantations there was more danger, and crowds of natives 
appeared and watched us. We marched in a compact body, 
with skirmishers thrown out ahead to examine the clumps of 
bush before we approached them ; and we kept ready at any 
moment to repel attack from the natives who hung upon our 
flanks. But they made no attempt to interfere with us, not 
even at midday when we rested for a few minutes in a yam- 
field and helped ourselves to the potatoes. 

In the afternoon we reached Fort Smith, the British East 
Africa Company's station in the Kikuyu country. I found that 
Mr. Purkiss (who has since died) was then in command, for 
Captain Nelson, one of the officers of the Emin Pasha Relief Ex- 
pedition, had died two months previously. The history of this 
station is short but eventful. The Company's first settlement was 
about four miles away at Dagorcti, which was built by Captain 
Lugard and Mr. George Wilson in 1 890. That station, however, 
was twice destroyed by the natives, and the existing fort was 
built by Major Smith. The defences are so strong that there is 
no fear of its capture except by surprise. Of this, however, there 


is some danger, as the Zanzibar! are such unreliable sentries 
that Mr. Purkiss told me that his last thought every night when 
going to bed was that if a well-planned attack were made, no 
one would know of it till the enemy was in the fort. The whole 
country was in an extremely unsettled condition, and no one 
could go half a mile from the fort except under escort. One 
of the first things Mr. Purkiss told me was that, according to 
regulations, no one was allowed to go anywhere in this district 
with less than twenty armed men ; and he requested me while 
his guest to obey that regulation. In the November of the 
previous year there had been a big fight with the Kikuyu ; but 
as at that time the garrison was reinforced by the caravan of 
the Railway Survey, by one under Major Smith, then on its way 
to Uganda, and by another under Mr. Martin, then returning to 
the coast, the natives were easily defeated and severely punished. 
This had not, however, prevented them from attacking the fort 
early in 1893, when they had besieged the station for a week 
and killed ten of the garrison. 

The farm attached to the station has a splendid kitchen garden, 
and most of the best English vegetables, including potatoes, 
tomatoes, turnips, carrots, radishes, cauliflower, lettuce, water- 
cress, and spinach, and all of excellent quality, were growing 
there. The altitude of the station is estimated by the Railway 
Survey at 6350 feet ; but as Mr. Purkiss told me that they had 
a mercurial barometer in the fort, I hoped to get a more exact 
determination. The instrument, however, was an ordinary ship's 
barometer, of use only at sea-level. The mercury was several 
inches out of sight down the iron tube. 

Mr. Purkiss invited me to stay with him for a couple of 
nights, and I did so, to rest the men and make my final 
preparations. For, after leaving Fort Smith, I did not expect 
to see another European until my return to Machakos or the 
coast. I had also to buy enough food to last as far as Baringo, 
and for this needed nearly a ton. To help to carry the addi- 
tional load I bought three donkeys. The food supply was 
further increased by the purchase of a small flock of sheep, 
and by a sackful of vegetables, a welcome present from Mr. 

The day after my arrival one of the new recruits for the 
garrison " ran amuck " through the fort, and tried to brain 



Purkiss with a beam of timber. He was soon disarmed, tied to 
the flag-staff and flogged. He was one of the Somali who had 
given me a good deal of trouble at Ngatana. 

After leaving this hospitable fort we struck away to the 
north-west over forest land, intersected by numerous deep 
valleys. We were watched by a crowd of Kikuyu, who 
howled and jeered at us, but did nothing more alarming. On 
arrival at our camping-place I found that two boxes had been 
left behind by mistake, and so had to return next day with 
thirteen men, while Omari held the camp with the rest. Our 
reappearance created temporary consternation, for the rumour 
had come in the night before that a powerful force of Masai 
was marching northward, in order to join the Kikuyu in an 
attack upon the fort. Some friendly Kikuyu had had a fight 
with the Masai outposts and killed five of them on the previous 
day. Purkiss therefore thought that I had come across the 
Masai and been driven back by them. I was glad of the 
warning, and so, having got the boxes, started back at once for 
camp. We moved this on a little farther, and then built our thorn 
boma in a steady downpour of rain. As some Kikuyu were 
sneaking about watching us, we prepared to resist an attack. 
In addition to the ordinary sentries, Omari and I both kept 
guard all night. 

We were off betimes next morning, anxious to leave the 
Kikuyu forests and to reach the Rift Valley. We crossed a 
swamp, which must be one of the head springs of the Tana, and 
then entered a valley, the character of which is different, both 
in structure and scenery, from any that we had previously seen. 
Its eastern wall was a straight precipitous cliff, due to a dis- 
location of the type known to geologists as " faults." At the 
northern end of the valley we should be on the edge of the Rift 
Valley, so we hastened along it. For five weeks I had been 
looking forward to the view that I expected to get from this 
point. My disappointment may therefore be imagined when, 
just before we reached the summit of the pass, a dense cloud 
settled down upon us and completely blotted out the view. We 
descended a few hundred feet, and then a wonderful prospect 
burst upon us. We were on the face of a cliff 1400 feet in 
height, broken only by a platform 500 feet above the floor of 
the valley. From the foot of the cliff a level plain extends thirty 


miles to the west, to the foot of the scarp of " Mau." Most 
Zanzibari have an eye for beauty in landscape, and to many of 
the men, including Omari, this view was new. So we sat along 
the path and enjoyed it. Now and again the cloud-banks 
that floated up the valley settled round us and blotted out the 
prospect ; but a friendly gust of wind would cleave a passage 
through them, and give us a glimpse to the north of the great 
cone of the volcano Longonot, or to the south of the breached 
crater Doenyo Suswa, and the newer cone rising within it. 
Sometimes the clouds would lift for a few minutes and reveal 
the plain, with its patches of green swamp and glittering sand, 
and the dark sinuous line of flat-topped acacias that mark 
the course of the Guaso Kedong ; while far to the west we 
could see the long, dull gray scarp of the plateau, which 
forms the western boundary of the valley. We stopped 
there, lost in admiration of the beauty and in wonder at the 
character of this valley, until the donkeys threw their loads 
and bolted down the path. We soon caught them and started 
again down the steep slope, intending to go on to a place 
known as " Martin's Camp." But I noticed on the cliff face, a 
little farther to the north, what appeared to be some old shore 
lines. This was a point that had to be settled ; so we camped 
on the platform already mentioned, 500 feet above the floor of 
the valley, and I devoted the rest of that day, and most of the 
next, to an examination of these terraces. The dense vegetation, 
sodden with moisture, was a great hindrance, but sufficient 
evidence was obtained to show that these strange straight lines 
along the hill-sides were old lake terraces. I at once named 
the lake that had made them after Prof. Ed. Suess, whose 
work has thrown so much light on the geological structure of 
this region. 

Late on the following day we moved down to the floor of 
the Rift Valley, and in the dark, during a deluge of rain, 
pitched camp in a deserted Masai kraal. 

We had now left the Kikuyu behind us, and as there 
seemed no natives in the immediate neighbourhood, I thought 
it was no longer necessary for me to spend the whole day 
with the caravan. The men were so overladen with food 
that no one could be spared to go with me, except my boy, 
who was so slow a walker as to be an encumbrance. But the 

<:" -^ 




geology was so tempting that I went off alone. By this time 
the men were accustomed to my going by myself, for I did 
so whenever the country was safe and the next camping-place 
easy to find. These solitary rambles were to me the most 
delightful incidents in the expedition. Free from the bother of 
the caravan, I could climb a mountain, track a river, visit a 
neighbouring lake, chase butterflies, and collect plants as careless 
as a schoolboy. But that day I nearly had to pay a high price 
for my pleasure. 

The Kiringozi, who alone knew the way, told me that the 
next camp was at the foot of " yonder hill." This seemed very 
simple, so I said Kivaheri (Good-bye), and struck westward 
through the scrub to examine a mountain — Doenyo Nyuki — 
which appeared very different from the others in the Rift Valley. 
I found that it was the denuded remnant of an old volcano, traced 
the bands of ash and tuff that encircle it, examined the sections 
cut by ravines through the parasitic cones on its lower slopes, 
and climbed its four highest pinnacles. From the summit of 
one of these I thought I could see the camp in the place where 
I expected it to be ; I therefore finished my study of the 
mountain at leisure. Afterwards I struck off to the supposed 
camping-ground, but could find no one. I shouted, but only 
an echo from the cliff answered. I climbed a tree, but could 
see no smoke. I made a circle round the point at a distance 
of about half a mile, but could find no track that answered to 
the men's. So I went back to Doenyo Nyuki, and after some 
trouble picked up the trail of the caravan. I ran along it for 
three miles as quickly as I could go, but then the sun set and 
I had to slacken my pace. It was soon dark and I lost the 
trail ; it began to rain, and before long I was wet through. As 
I floundered on, hopelessly lost in the thorn scrub, I remembered 
that it was here that one of Thomson's men, who had straggled 
behind, was killed by a lion. I thought I could see a lion 
under every bush, and regretted that I had not stopped at the 
point where it first became so dark that I could not recognise 
the trail. I ought to have done this, made a " lean-to bivouac," 
and waited till the men came to look for me. But I was too 
proud then to admit that I was lost, and it was now impossible 
to find my way back. I thought, however, that the camp must 
be near the river, so I struck off due east until I reached it and 


then followed up its course. The river forked, and fortunately 
I took the wrong branch. Before I had discovered that this 
was only an insignificant tributary, I came across a trail in the 
mud. I went on my knees to examine it, and found the foot- 
prints of men, sheep, and donkeys ; so it was probably that of 
our caravan. By going very slowly, often on hands and knees, 
I managed to track it for about half a mile when I saw the 
flicker of a fire. I crept cautiously towards it, fearing it might 
be that of a Masai kraal ; but as I approached I could see a 
tent, and I knew I was " home." I called out to inquire, as I 
approached, " Mpokwa rudisha? " (Has " Loaded pockets " come 
back ?). But in spite of my effort to disguise my voice it was 
recognised, and the men came rushing out to greet me, shake 
my hands, and lead me into camp. I found that Omari and 
some of the men were out on the search, and that since four 
o'clock there had been great anxiety owing to my non-appear- 
ance. I ridiculed the fear of my losing the way, and told 
them what a charming day I had had ; but I did not think it 
necessary to add that the feelings of self-reproach and fright 
that had possessed my soul, from the time when I realised that 
I was thoroughly lost, until I picked up the trail half a mile 
from camp, had more than outbalanced the charm of the 
scramble over the peaks of Doenyo Nyuki. 

The next day I climbed the cliff above the camp to con- 
clude the examination of the lake terraces, but it rained all 
day, and the jungle was so sodden with moisture that I could 
not do as much as I wished. At noon I found a deserted 
Masai kraal, and crept for shelter into the only hut that still 
retained a roof; but it was already occupied — by the bodies 
of two Masai in an advanced stage of decomposition ; so I ate 
my frugal meal in the rain. This was my first experience of 
the Masai, and it was not a pleasant introduction. A short 
time before reaching camp I saw some more members of the 
tribe, and this second meeting at one time promised to be 
livelier than the first. Unexpectedly I came across a number 
of them tending a herd of cattle. Some of them drove the 
animals away, and the rest walked towards the path as if to 
intercept me from camp. They waited about fifty yards from 
the path, and we tried to talk ; but as neither side knew a 
word of the other's language, the conversation was not in- 


structive. The Masai knew, however, that holding up a tuft of 
grass was the sign of friendship ; they appeared also to under- 
stand the powers of a revolver, for they watched mine nervously. 
They followed at a distance of about a hundred yards for over 
a mile, and then as I approached camp they withdrew to their 

The camp was situated on some open moorland, on the 
summit of the " Longonot Pass," on the ridge that separates 
the basins of the Kedong and of Naivasha. The pass is at 
the height of 7200 feet. It is bounded on the east by a rock 
mass named Kajabe, while to the west rises the great crater of 
Longonot. This was ascended by Mr. Joseph Thomson in 
1883 as far as the crater rim, but the actual summit of the 
mountain on the western wall of the crater had not been 
climbed ; this I resolved to attempt. It was very cold in the 
morning, and so wet and cloudy that it was eight o'clock before 
we were able to start. The lower part of the mountain con- 
sists of a series of platforms or terraces of lava. The rock is 
a black trachytic pumice, containing a good deal of obsidian. 
The mountain is very uniform in character, and lava forms a 
large proportion of its mass. The cone is in the main composed 
of lava, instead of fragmentary materials, such as ash and tuff, 
as is the case with most volcanoes. A sharp scramble of an 
hour and a half brought us to the rim of the crater, which at 
the point where we reached it has been worn by zebras into a 
broad cinder track. The floor of the crater is a large and fairly 
level plain, covered with acacia scrub ; the walls are usually 
precipitous, but a descent could easily be made on the southern 
side. The great surprise was the discovery of a large steam 
vent on the inner face of the north wall of the crater. 

The actual summit of the mountain is on the western side, 
and is i 800 feet higher than the rim of the crater at the point 
where we reached it. We started for it along the northern wall. 
At first the way was easy, but, as the edge of the crater rose, it 
became jagged and densely covered with scrub. To avoid some 
of the teeth, we worked across the inner face of the crater. 
After a weary scramble of an hour and three-quarters we reached 
the foot of the final pinnacle. A narrow sharp ridge of volcanic 
ash led up to it. This was very slippery, and it sloped rapidly 
down on either side to cliffs of such height, that the two Zanzi- 



baris refused to traverse it. I cut steps across it and reached 
the dense bush that covered the summit. For a moment I 
doubted whether after all I should be able to force a way through 
the bush, for the foothold was precarious, and a slip would 
have been easy and disastrous. To return, however, when so 
near the summit was not to be thought of, so I hewed a way 
through the scrub with a sword bayonet. After sketching the 
surrounding country from the summit I returned to the men, 
and we boiled the thermometers, thus obtaining data which 
indicate for the highest pinnacle a height of 9350 feet. We 
then raced back to camp. Civilisation proved its superiority 
to nature, for thanks to boots and an alpenstock I arrived there 
at 2.15, an hour before the men. 

Camp was struck at once, so that we might reach the 
shore of Naivasha that evening. We started at three o'clock, as 
soon as the two men who had been with me on Longonot came 
in sight. Our route lay over rich turf, on which roamed many 
antelope and enormous herds of cattle guarded by Masai. I 
had been told that the terrible havoc wrought by cattle disease 
had annihilated the vast herds once possessed by this tribe ; I 
was therefore surprised to see so many. I was also rather sorry, 
for the abundance of cattle showed that there would be a 
large force of Masai near the lake. But my men assured me 
that they would be quite friendly, and not interfere with my 
plans. I was very anxious to examine the structure of the 
Mau scarp to the west of Naivasha, in order to discover if 
its structure corresponded with that of the eastern wall of the 
Rift Valley ; and also to make a collection to illustrate the 
flora and fauna of the lake. I had brought with me presents 
for the Masai chiefs ; for I intended to make friends with them, 
to leave most of the porters on the lake shore, while with fifteen 
others I made a branch excursion to the west. 

Great, therefore, was my disappointment when, on our 
arrival at the camping - ground, a band of insolent young 
warriors came crowding round us and forbade my men erecting 
the tents. We had unwisely divided into two parties ; Omari, 
the Askari, and eight porters were with the donkeys, while I 
had hastened on with the other men to get the camp into order 
before dark ; so for a while I was bound to temporise. The 
attitude of the El-Moran was insolent in the extreme ; they 




bullied the porters, who were in a cringing state of terror, but 
fortunately they were rather in awe of me. One of them stepped 
up to the door of my tent and wanted to enter it. I asked in 
a polite tone " El Moru ? " (Are you an elder ?), and when he 
cheekily replied " El Moran " (Warrior), I kicked him away 
from the tent and told him at once to leave the camp, an order 
which the other Masai made him obey. At last, to our intense 
relief, Omari and the men with the donkeys came in, and a 
temporising policy was no longer necessary. I ordered two 
El-Moran to go and fetch some of the elders, as I wanted a 
" shauri." Two elders came at the head of a powerful body of 
El-Moran, and the shauri began. I could see that the idea of 
stopping at Naivasha for a week was absolutely impracticable ; 
I therefore simply stated that I wanted to go through the 
country on my way to Baringo. I asked for permission to rest 
there for that night, to buy some firewood and water from the 
women, and next morning to continue my march to the north. 
The reply was short and emphatic. I was not to go through 
their country ; I had no right to pitch my camp in it without 
permission ; and I was to pack up at once and return by the 
way I had come. Omari and the interpreter Ramathan both 
looked as distressed as I was disappointed at this reply. 
They begged for a peaceful answer, but I had been advised on 
the coast that the right way to manage Masai was by " bluff" ; 
so I replied that we were not going back, that we intended to stay 
where we were for that night, and next morning march on to 
Baringo ; and that we should leave it to them to decide whether 
we were to be friends or foes. They then altered their tone, 
and said I might go on if I paid them " hongo " — a kind of 
toll for passage through their country, Hongo seems to me a 
very fair tax, at least when a caravan uses the paths and wells 
made by the natives ; I had therefore no a priori objection to 
paying it. But the amount demanded exceeded my whole 
stock of goods ; I therefore pointed to the stack of loads 
and then to the men, who with rifles ready were standing 
round the camp, and told the Masai that whatever hongo they 
wanted, they had better come and take. They did not seem 
to like the tone of the invitation, and left with threats as to 
what would happen next day. 

As soon as the Masai had withdrawn we devoted all our 


energies to strengthening the camp, cutting down any thorn 
bushes that would have afforded shelter to the enemy, and add- 
ing them to our thorn zeriba. Omari then came into my tent 
to discuss matters. He said the Masai were certainly present in 
great force, and for some reason or other were determined not 
to allow us to proceed. The interpreter Ramathan said he 
had passed Naivasha several times before, and had never seen 
so many kraals, such great herds of cattle, nor experienced 
such a hostile reception. With his usual cowardice he begged 
me to return. Omari was also very ill at ease, but with his 
usual pluck said that whatever I decided on should be done. 
Everybody on the coast had told me that if we met Masai 
parties on the war-path, we should have to fight them ; but that, 
except on Laikipia, the people of the villages would be friendly. 
The porters only the day before had said that we should find 
the Masai here most amiable ; they would come up to camp, 
we should shake hands and spit on one another ; they would 
sell us food and trinkets, and we should go in and out of their 
kraals like brothers. We were therefore all of us much dis- 
concerted by our reception. The Masai never offered to shake 
hands, much less did they spit on us ; and until these two expres- 
sions of peace and goodwill had been made, we knew we could 
not trust the people. We could not quite understand it, so we 
made every preparation to repel attack, and stood to arms all 
night. It poured with rain, and this added to the discomfort 
of our situation. We kept the fires burning, and piles of wet 
grass beside them, so as to smother them in case of an attack. 

Rain was still falling heavily at dawn, and it was useless to 
think of continuing our march until it left off. To encourage 
the men, we served out an extra ration of food and let them 
prepare breakfast. Some Masai children were sent out to 
watch us, but we saw no one else till about eight o'clock. The 
elders and the El-Moran then visited us, and once again the 
game of brag and bluster was resumed. They repeated their 
taunts as to the weakness of our numbers, and boasted that 
they had massacred caravans of twenty times our strength. 
They said they had done this with much smaller forces than 
they could now bring into the field, for they claimed to have 
9000 warriors on the shores of Naivasha. Any hesitation or 
offer of hongo would have been mistaken for weakness, and 


probably have completely ruined the whole expedition. There 
was nothing for it but to put on a bold front and answer defiance 
with defiance. So, as soon as they repeated their refusal of 
permission to proceed, and again ordered us to return to the 
coast, I told them that we were going on, even though we had 
to fight our way through the lot of them. I warned them 
that if any harm befell us it would be the worse for them, for 
a great caravan of brave soldiers was even then approaching 
their country from Uganda. I said that the men in this 
caravan were more in number than there were papyrus stems 
around Lake Naivasha, that they would sweep upon their 
country, kill all the El-Moran, eat up all the cattle, and drive 
the elders and women and children out into the deserts, where 
not even their slaves, the Wanderobbo, could manage to live. 
This little speech had been translated by Ramathan during the 
night, and I had learnt it by heart. The Masai replied by 
driving their women and cattle back to the kraals, and it looked 
most uncomfortably like a fight. At about a quarter to ten 
the rain stopped, and a few minutes later we started north 
across the plain. When the elders saw that we were deter- 
mined to go, they became more friendly. As the first man 
moved out of camp the chief came up and for the first time 
held out a " knobkerry," cut from a rhinoceros horn, for me to 
shake. I of course shook it, glad of this expression of friendli- 
ness, though quite aware that if it stopped at this it meant 
nothing. But as I walked down the slope from the camp after 
the men, he came up again, and this time not only held out his 
knobkerry, but as I shook one end, he shook the other. After 
walking a few yards he repeated this more vigorously. Then 
at last he held out his hand ; we shook hands, at first coldly, 
and then more cordially. Finally, after we had walked a couple 
of hundred yards, we repeated the process and the chief spat 
upon me, a salutation which I returned with perhaps unnecessary 
vigour. I had been warned that whenever Masai retire from a 
conference without spitting the spit of peace, squalls ma}' be 
expected. I was therefore much relieved when this friendly 
rite had been performed. 

We marched northwards ov^er the plain beside the lake. 
We were followed by a crowd of El-Moran, who seemed at first 
disposed to be fairly friendly. But as soon as they had passed 


out of sight of the first kraal, their love of mischief became too 
much for them. They drove up some donkeys towards us ; 
these brayed to ours, which tried to dash off to join the others. 
One broke through our line, threw its load, and succeeded in 
reaching the herd. The El-Moran tried to pillage the load, 
but Omari and I reached it as soon as they did, and by striking 
the butt end of our rifles on their naked feet, sent a few of them 
limping away. As it was obvious that there was nothing like 
bluff for impressing the Masai, I ordered the El-Moran to go 
and catch the donkey. I said they were trying to steal it, and 
that if they did not bring it back I would seize three other 
donkeys and burn the kraal. They soon brought back our pack 
animal, and after this behaved much better. They made, how- 
ever, another attempt to seize a load while we were crossing a 
stream. As we had to march in square, and were much annoyed 
by the Masai, we only made four miles that day. We had to 
pitch our tents amid some rocks about a mile from the north- 
eastern corner of the lake. There was no thorn scrub with 
which to make a zeriba, so we arranged the tents in a small 
circle and filled up the interspaces with boulders and baggage. 

Late in the afternoon a powerful force of Masai in full war 
costume marched up to camp and said they had been sent to 
dance to us. I put some marks on the ground at a little 
distance from the camp, and said they were not to come nearer 
to us than these. I insisted on a Masai elder taking a seat on 
a box before me, and saw that all the men were at their posts 
with their rifles ready and the reserve ammunition boxes in a 
convenient place. Then I gave permission for the dance to 
begin. It was certainly extremely picturesque ; the men were 
all armed with great shovel-headed spears, with heads varying 
from 30 inches to 3 feet in length, and spikes a little longer ; 
they carried thick oval shields 4 feet in height, which were 
coloured in various patterns. They had rattles on their ankles 
and their arms ; their fingers were protected by bright iron 
knuckle-dusters ; their heads were adorned with aureoles of 
feathers. At first they simply leapt into the air, throwing 
their heads violently backwards and forwards, and making a 
series of guttural grunts. Then they marked time with their 
feet while they hurled their spears upward, giving them a twist 
which made them flash in the sunlight. Meanwhile they 


shouted a kind of song without words, to the accompaniment 
of the music of their rattles. Next they marched and ran in 
Indian file, twining in and out in a series of complex evolutions, 
and finally arranging themselves so that the designs on their 
leather shields were symmetrically disposed. Then they 
executed the last dance performed before starting on a war 
raid ; they followed this by a series of sham rushes at the 
camp. As they came on roaring and shouting, their bodies 
covered by their shields, and their long spears raised over their 
heads, they presented a weird spectacle. We watched them 
with breathless anxiety, expecting every moment that a sham 
rush would become a real one. My revolver covered the head 
of the Masai elder, while the men prepared to close the breeches 
of their rifles, which were kept not quite closed, so that if a 
trigger were pulled accidentally no harm would be done. After 
this, the Masai gave us the dance with which they celebrate 
victory ; I told them I wanted to see that, but that they need 
not trouble to perform their dance after a defeat, as, if they did 
not behave better than they had done the day before, they 
would soon dance it in earnest. At the close of this " Wild 
East Show " I distributed among the dancers a couple of 
shillings' worth of beads, with which they went away apparently 

The Masai elder offered to stay with us in camp, as a sign 
of friendship and to protect us from interference by any of 
the El-Moran. I said I should be most happy to entertain 
him for a night, but that our guns were our protectors, and to 
them alone did we trust. I had a long chat with our guest in 
the evening, and found out from him what I imagined to be 
the explanation of the hostile attitude of the usually friendly 
Masai of Naivasha. He said they were preparing for a great 
war raid, but would not tell us against whom. They appeared 
to think that the garrison of Fort Smith had heard of this, 
and that I was being sent on to hasten the caravan returning 
from Uganda, in order to stop the raid. Major Smith, how- 
ever, who knows the Naivasha Masai very well, afterwards told 
me that they are sometimes very bumptious and troublesome ; 
that they planned an attack on the Railway Survey, and tried 
at night to surprise the camp of Mr. Newman, the famous 
rifle shot, when on his way back from Uganda. It is therefore 


probable that it was the small size of my caravan that tempted 
them to display their innate love of bullying and thieving. 

Although after my conversation with the elder I felt more 
at ease, I still did not deem it safe to go to sleep. I sat 
wrapped up in a blanket, with my revolver, shot-gun, and rifle 
ready loaded on a table beside me. Every half-hour I went 
round the camp to see that the sentries were awake, and that 
the fires were burning. We had fortunately lighted fires at 
a little distance from the camp, and these illuminated a con- 
siderable space around us. Shortly after midnight, just after 
returning to my seat beside the fire, I saw the cook spring to 
his feet in such haste that I guessed there was something 
wrong ; I threw off my rug, seized my rifle from the table, 
and looked round. By the light of the outer circle of fire, 
we could see a party of about twenty Masai creeping up to 
camp. They were carrying their spears, but not their shields, 
apparently lest these should make noise that might betray 
them. The cook and I shouted " Masai," and this, with my 
order of " Bunduki tiari " (Guns ready), roused the camp. 

The men took their places quietly and quickly, and looked 
as though they meant fight. Even my tent-boy Philip, whose 
cowardice was the joke of the camp, went to his station inside 
my tent and stood ready to serve out ammunition. Several of 
the men under the Kiringozi, Wadi Hamis, had been told off 
to climb the small cliff above the camp, to guard that approach, 
and to be able to fire down at a foe upon the plain. I forgave 
that surly old grumbler many of his sins, for the pluck with 
which he led his men to that important post. He found 
another party of Masai approaching from that side, and at 
once opened fire, while I discharged four shots over the heads 
of the men on the plain. As the Masai now saw that there 
was no chance of a surprise, they turned and fled. I sprang 
at once to the shelter tent where the Masai elder was supposed 
to be. But the savage had escaped unnoticed, leaving his 
goods behind him. He certainly left before the attempted 
attack, as I had set two men to guard him at the first alarm. 
His behaviour thus lends some support to the idea that the 
attack had been planned, and that it was not a mere attempt 
by a batch of thieves to rush through the camp and seize any 
objects that they could lay their hands on in the confusion. 



We stood on guard, expecting at any moment an attack in 
force by the main body. But as this was not deHvered, and I 
knew there would be no lack of sentries for the rest of that 
night, I turned into the tent and enjoyed my first three hours 
of continuous sleep since I had left the protection of Fort 

At four in the morning I had breakfast, and the men 
packed up the loads. We waited anxiously for dawn, for we 
dared not start in the dark, lest we should walk into an ambush. 
The moment the light was strong enough to enable us to 
guard against surprise, we marched northward across the plain. 
Unnoticed by the Masai we waded the swamps beside the 
streams that enter the north-eastern corner of the lake ; but 
as soon as we lost the shelter of the papyrus in the swamps 
and the scrub on its borders, we were discovered by some 
shepherds. They took the news to the nearest kraal, and a 
party of El-Moran came out to watch us. On the open grass- 
land they dared not attack, so they followed at a respectful 
distance. A few miles farther on we were stopped by the 
river Malewa or Murendat. To avoid passing near some kraals 
we had bent our course far to the west, and thus, instead of 
striking the river at the ford, we reached it where it flowed 
through a deep sinuous canon. We marched along this to 
find a place where we could descend to the river, so as to be 
able to get water even if we could not cross. We found a 
track which led down to a ford, but the river was impassable. 
The flood, however, was subsiding rapidly, for the bank was 
still w^et for more than a foot above the level of the water. We 
placed some notched sticks in the river to mark its rate of 
decline, and camped. For twenty long hours we sat beside 
the ford, watching successively the river, the Masai, and the 
clouds on the hills to the east, and feeling probably much like 
the Israelites, when they had the Red Sea in front of them and 
Pharaoh's hosts behind. 

In the evening, as the river had fallen several inches, I 
tried again to cross ; I reached a shoal in the middle, but the 
last channel was too much for me. A school of hippopotami was 
playing in the pool below the ford ; as I had been carried down 
into it in the morning, I did not think it worth the risk of 
adding to their sport, and swam back to the southern shore. 


Twice during the night we had false alarms of the Masai ; our 
rest was also disturbed by the attempt of a pair of hyenas to 
get at our donkeys. Fortunately the night was rainless, and 
by the morning the river had fallen sufficiently to permit us to 
cross. We did so, though with difficulty. Omari and two or 
three of the stronger porters carried over the loads, while the 
feebler members of the party pulled themselves across, hand 
over hand, along a rope. Some Masai watched us, but made 
no attempt to interfere. A short march farther brought us to 
the Gilgil river, the waters of which were unusually low. There 
were no Masai in the district, and nothing to lessen the luxury 
of a feeling of safety and peace. The porters were delighted 
to get into an uninhabited country, and I was glad to turn 
again to the subjects of geology and botany, after my experi- 
ence of the over-exciting occupation often presented by African 



" Upaci, upaci, 
Hatta Baringo. 
Mbali kidogo 
Tukafika Uganda." 

(Hasten, hasten, 
As far as Baringo. 
But a little farther 
Then we're at Uganda. ) 

Zanzibari Alarching Soug. 

During the march from Naivasha to the Gilgil we had risen 
slightly in elevation. The lake stands at the level of 6200 
feet, and in the two marches we had only ascended 200 
feet. After crossing the river the ascent became more marked ; 
and, at the height of 6710 feet, we reached the summit of the 
ridge that separates the basin of Naivasha from that of Lakes 
Elmetaita and Nakuro. To the south was a long slope, covered 
with turf and loose " lelesha " scrub {Tardionanthes caviphoratus), 
and in the far distance the crater of Longonot. To the north, a 
cliff descended abruptly to a plain on which lay Lakes Nakuro 
and Elmetaita, leaden-gray in contrast to the intervening tracts 
of glistening sand and salty desert. We scrambled down the 
cliff, leaving to our left a group of extinct volcanic cones, and 
made our way towards the southern end of Elmetaita, where 
we camped. There, on the banks of the Kariandusi river, we 
found a powerful caravan under Major Eric Smith and Captain 
(now Major) Williams, R.A., who were returning to the coast 
after the evacuation of Uganda by the British East Africa 
Company. They gave me a great deal of most valuable advice 


and information. This included, as a matter of course, the 
usual warnings against the attempt to cross Laikipia with so 
small a force. Captain Williams advised me to strike westward 
from Njemps to the Victoria Nyanza, and along its northern 
shore to Kampala ; there I could get whatever trade goods 
were necessary, and thence proceed to Ruwenzori. Food was 
abundant, and the natives friendly all along the line. The 
scheme looked attractive when compared with the risks of the 
march across Laikipia, and for a while my resolution of " Kenya 
at any price " was shaken. 

Next morning the Company's caravan proceeded on its 
homeward journey. I spent the day in an excursion eastward 
to climb one of the Dondole Mountains, and in walking west- 
ward across the plains to a group of broken-down volcanic 
craters. The morning climb was rewarded by a view of 
exceptional beauty from a peak of 7650 feet in height, which, 
owing to the form of its flat, lava -capped summit, I named 
Kilima Meza {i.e. Table Mountain).-^ Of more practical value 
than the view was the collection of some interesting plants, 
including a handsome Gladiolus and a new species of Lagaro- 
siphon {L. Jiydrilloides, Rdle.) 

The lake itself I visited next day. It receives two rivers, 
the Kariandusi and the Guaso Nagut, but has no outlet. Its 
level is being lowered by evaporation, and it is now much 
smaller than it once was. The water is bitter, and the only 
signs of animal life in it were some insect larvae and small 
crustaceans (amphipods), though the empty shells of a new 
water-snail (Z. elmetaitensis, E. A. Sm.) were abundant on the 
shore. Huge flocks of pink flamingoes {Phoenicopterus roseus, 
Pall.) waded in the shallows or swam on the surface, browsing 
on masses of alga, which in places imparted a deep green colour 
to the water. The simultaneous discharge of both barrels of my 
shot-gun secured six flamingoes, and yielded for some days 
afterwards a pleasant addition to our bill of fare. 

After leaving Elmetaita the journey, for a few days, was 
as easy and restful as a picnic. The route lay over smooth 
turf steppes ; water and firewood were abundant ; there were no 
natives to worry us, and the rain did not begin till late in the 
afternoon. But this did not last long. After crossing the 

^ See. Alpine Journal, vol. xvii. (1894), p. 91. 



ridge (6730 feet) which separates the Elmetaita and Baringo 
basins, the valley descended rapidly to the north. We entered 
some old lake basins, in which the grass was so rank that 
marching became slow and wearisome. We left the ordinary 
track, which was well known, in order to try and find a new 
route to Njemps along the eastern side of the Rift Valley. 

The next week was a succession of misadventures. In 
order to reconnoitre the country ahead I climbed a mountain, 
which, as it lies exactly on the equator, I called " Equator 
Peak." From the summit (6150 feet) I could see a lake to 
the north-east which I resolved to visit. I sent the Askari in 
one direction while I went in another to find the best track by 
which to lead the caravan next day. We were caught some 
miles from camp in a storm that was simply terrific. We were 
used to heavy storms, but this was a hurricane. Even before 
sunset it became so dark that it was impossible to see the way 
or even to read a compass ; only the wind gave any clue to 
direction. We both spent some hours stumbling about in the 
darkness in the thorn scrub, and it was not till late at night 
that we regained the welcome shelter of the camp. 

This was only the first of a trying series of accidents. Ihe 
men at first objected to going by the route I proposed, as they 
said they had no Kiringozi who knew it. I replied that I 
would be Kiringozi, and they would have to follow me. We 
marched north across the plain to the foot of Equator Peak, 
and then along the eastern base of the ridge, of which it is 
the highest summit. After a fatiguing march through dense 
jungle, we reached the shore of the lake. One of my men said 
he had previously visited it with a Suahili trader, and that it 
was known as Zewi (or Lake) Kibibi. This is apparently only 
a Kisuahili name and means " Little Ladies," which may be a 
playful allusion to the swarms of mosquitoes that are said to 
infest it. As it poured with rain throughout the whole of the 
fourteen hours during which we camped beside the lake, we 
were not troubled with these pests. We fished in the lake, but 
without success. Next day we continued our way northward 
across a country so intersected by ravines, and choked with scrub, 
that progress was very slow. We had to march in single file, 
chopping a way through the jungle and trampling the under- 
growth into a path. Several times during the day we were 


charged by rhinoceros. They lay asleep until awakened by 
the noise we made, and then, frightened and muddled, they 
charged wildly in all directions through the scrub. Twice they 
broke through the line of porters, but the men managed to 
dodge them, and the only damage done was to the loads. 

In the afternoon we emerged from the valleys on to a 
plain where the scrub was thinner, and I went on ahead to try 
to find water and a camping- place. Suddenly, without the 
slightest warning, I found myself on the edge of a precipice 
1 900 feet in height. For some hundreds of feet the cliff was 
absolutely vertical. A few yards away from where I stood it 
actually overhung, as the wind had cut away the soft beds of 
ash below the lava that formed the summit. The change was 
so startling that for a moment it made me feel giddy. When 
the porters came up they were as surprised as I had been, and 
we all stood along the edge of the cliff and admired the 
extraordinary view before us. At our feet, at the base of the 
precipice, lay a long narrow lake, in shape something like 
Windermere. The opposite shore is formed of a series of steps 
and terraces which rise one above another to the summit of 
Doenyo Lugurumut. Beyond this ridge is the valley along 
which runs the trade route to Njemps, and beyond this again 
are the undulating foot-hills and the dark gray scarp of the 
plateau of Kamasia. The view was certainly the most beau- 
tiful I had seen in Africa. As a rule, except at sunrise and 
sunset, the colours were disappointing ; but here the lake itself 
was of an exquisite blue, broken by the green of dense growths 
of alga, or by pink where vast flocks of flamingoes floated on 
the surface. The colour effects on the shore and on the islets 
were as striking by the contrasts as by the brilliancy of the 
tints : here and there a glittering tract of sand, or a dazzlingly 
white deposit of sinter around a hot spring, interrupted the 
sombre brown hue of the acacia scrub. 

We were all so fascinated by the landscape, with its wide 
expanse of view, its striking contrasts of colour and form, that 
it was some time before practical considerations forced them- 
selves upon our minds. Then we realised that the view was 
not without its drawbacks. The precipice that gave it to us 
barred our progress and drained the plateau dry. Water was 
absolutely necessary, so we started off in different directions to 


search for it. Of all hunting there is none so exciting as that 
for water, none which exacts sounder judgment and greater 
patience ; and on the edge of a cliff 1 900 feet high no quarry 
is more elusive and difficult to stalk. Once or twice my hopes 
were roused by finding some damp soil on the bed of the 
brook I was tracking, but I returned to camp unsuccessful. A 
porter had, however, found water in some rhinoceros foot-holes, 
and these yielded us a limited supply. We hoped the usual 
evening's rain would enable us to fill up our bottles ; but 
though a terrific storm of wind nearly blew the tents over the 
cliff into the lake, not a drop of rain fell. I had in consequence 
to make a breakfastless start. We continued northward along 
the edge of the plateau, in the hope of finding some place at 
which we could descend to the lake. At half-past ten we 
reached a gully which had cut back the edge of the plateau 
and offered us a chance of descent. I started down it to 
prospect. I found some interesting plants and a most 
instructive geological section, but after a climb of some 800 
feet, a vertical cliff of lava formed an absolute barrier to further 
progress. I tried again in two or three other places, but in 
vain, and I had to return to the plateau foiled and disheartened. 
An enterprising porter. Fundi Mabruk, had, however, gone off 
on his own account, and towards evening succeeded in finding 
an old game track that led down to the shore. It was then 
too late to descend that night, so we camped in a hollow, and 
served out the last ration of food, which, however, could not be 
cooked owing to lack of water. We started at dawn next 
morning, hoping to reach the lake early, breakfast there, and 
then hasten on to Njemps. 

But the descent was a longer and more difficult task than 
we had expected. The porters and sheep scrambled down 
easily enough, but a good deal of ledge-digging and bush- 
cutting had to be done to render it practicable for the donkeys. 
It was therefore nearly eleven o'clock before we reached the shore. 
Then, to our horror, we found that the water was salt and 
sulphurous. The first man who reached the lake returned to 
us making hideous grimaces and groaning, " Dowa, dowa, 
hapana maji " (It's medicine, medicine, not water). And very 
effective medicine it proved to be ; its emetic properties acting 
on the man's empty stomach brought on such a violent attack 


of retching that it was necessary to give him some cocaine. 
The sight of the water drove the donkeys almost mad, and 
they made most desperate efforts to reach it ; we dared not 
let them drink, for it would probably have killed them. 
Bitterly disappointed we resumed our march along the eastern 
shore of the lake. In our thirsty condition we soon began to 
feel the heat. The whole place seemed to have been planned 
as a sun-trap. The black precipice and the bare lava at its 
foot became hotter and hotter as the day drew on, till the glow 
from them became almost intolerable. The cliff, moreover, 
screened us from the refreshing breeze that generally softened 
the midday heat. Hence the air was stagnant, and there was 
nothing to carry away the moisture that rose from the surface 
of the lake, or the putrid odour of the vegetation that lay 
rotting in the submerged meadows along its margin. Here 
and there we had to cross stretches of sand, raising a cloud of 
salt-covered dust which added to the pangs of our burning thirst. 
Occasionally we had to wade for short distances through the 
lake, to avoid dense thickets of bush or rocky headlands, or to 
cross meadows now submerged owing to the high level of the 
water. During these we had to tie sacks over the donkeys' 
heads to prevent them from drinking ; as we could not take 
the same trouble with the sheep, they drank what they wanted, 
and two out of the three died. 

I dragged in the lake for shells, but could get none, nor any 
trace of aquatic animal life. It was more barren than Elme- 
taita, for the water of that lake, though bitter and salt, was 
clear and pure, and yielded a few insect larvae and amphipods ; 
but the putrid sulphurous water of Lake Losuguta seems fatal 
to life. Some trees that stood a few yards from the shore 
were dead, though, as their leaves were still attached to them, 
their submergence must have been recent. The grass was 
yellow, and whatever the water touched it seemed to kill. 
The only exceptions were a green alga and some pink flamin- 
goes, and in the absence of competition these throve exceed- 
ingly. The alga grew in such dense masses that it often 
coloured the water green ; while the number of the flamingoes 
was such that when, towards sunset, they rose from the lake 
and flew northward, one of the kite-shaped flocks must have 
measured 400 yards in breadth and a mile in length. But these 


alone seemed able to touch the waters of the lake and live, 
and we saw neither birds nor insects on the shore. The day's 
zoological collection was represented only by a water-scorpion 
(a Nepd) which we found in some half- dried mud, and a small 
snake {Rhagerrhis tritcsniata, Gth.) An effort to add a rhino- 
ceros nearly resulted in a disaster. We saw a pair, and as we 
were desperately hard-up for food, I told Fundi to follow me, 
and started off to stalk them. They bolted into the bush at the 
foot of the cliff, and it seemed impossible for them to escape. 
I soon found one of them, but could not get a safe shot at it, as 
it stood facing us, and its head was over its chest. A small 
stream bed, 4 feet deep and about 6 feet wide, ran towards the 
animal. We crawled along this till I was level with the 
rhinoceros, I was taking a steady aim at its brain when I 
heard a shriek from Fundi of " Kwea, bwana " (Climb, master). 
The other rhinoceros was also in the bed of the stream, and, 
having scented us, was charging down upon us. We both 
sprang up into the thorn scrub, while the rhinoceros passed 
beneath me and stopped, as if it intended to turn. I jerked 
my rifle to my shoulder and fired at the animal's neck. The 
effect was startling to both of us. The mouth of the barrel 
had scraped against the side of the gully, and become half 
choked with sand ; the recoil was so heavy that it threw me 
back into the thornbush, while the bullet, instead of cutting 
through the backbone, tore its way through the muscles of the 
neck. With a grunt of pain the rhinoceros rushed on along 
the gully, while I rolled into it. Fundi picked up his rifle and 
ran to help me, shouting to the others that I was hurt. He 
thought the rhinoceros had caught me, and was much relieved 
to find that it was only the gun that had knocked me over. 
My right shoulder, however, was so bruised and battered that 
for some weeks afterwards I had to shoot from the left. Later 
on the same day a rhinoceros threatened to charge the caravan, 
but after a minute's reflection it walked slowly southward. I 
suggested to Fundi that we should go and stalk it. " Bus faro 
leo, bwana " (Enough rhinoceros for to-day, master), he replied. 
I agreed with him, and so we made no attempt to intercept its 

About five in the afternoon we passed round a headland to 
a wooded gully cut into the face of the cliff, in which we hoped 



to find water. It was our last chance that day. But, to our 
intense disappointment, it contained nothing but sand. Never 
before did I realise so fully the sad truth of the line in the 
missionary hymn — 

" Where Afric's sunny fountains roll down their golden sand." 

All the fountains we passed that day rolled down nothing but 
sand. To add to our annoyance, we could see rain pouring 
down on the other side of the lake. It had rained every day 
but two since we had left Mombasa, and we therefore hoped 
that it would yet do so ; but, as I feared, the hot cliff beside 
us kept the rain-cloud away. By this time the porters were 
too exhausted to go farther. Several of them had already 
fallen far behind, and some of these had to be almost carried 
on. We were too tired to pitch the tents, so our camp that 
night was a very dismal one. After dark it became cooler, 
and the pangs of thirst became more tolerable ; but later on 
it became intensely cold, and several of us were seized by an 
attack of fever. The men clamoured for medicine, but as 
there was no water they could not have any, and we spent a 
miserably feverish, restless night. 

Dawn came suddenly ; a dim tinge of grayish pink tinted 
the western sky, and almost before I was certain what it was, 
the sunlight caught the summits of the Kamasian hills. We 
prepared to march at once ; every man who had the strength 
to do so picked up his load ; I nodded the order to start, and 
without a word being spoken we resumed our march. The 
scrub here came down to the water's edge, and we had to chop 
a way through it. Fundi and I, with an Askari, led the van 
to cut the path ; but every jerk sent such a pang through my 
shoulder, that I had to let the others do the work. Progress 
was very slow ; the slightest extra exertion produced an awful 
feeling of sickness and weakness. We could stagger along on 
the level fairly well, but if we had to climb a few feet to cross 
a ridge, the men would fall exhausted upon it. Rests became 
longer and more numerous ; at ten o'clock we found the heat 
of the sun unbearable, and it seemed as if the whole caravan 
were on the point of complete collapse. A little way ahead 
there was a gap in the jungle, so I let the men drop their 
loads and hasten on to this. I intended to put up the fly of 


the tent and let the men rest under it during the heat of the 
day, while I went on with a few others to search for water. 
Just as we were preparing a slight shower of rain fell ; we 
caught as much as we could and shared it. Omari refused to 
take his share, and gave it to a porter. The drink, small 
though it was, refreshed us somewhat, and we went on again. 
I started ahead with Fundi and an Askari, and at length we 
found some water in a swamp at the north end of the lake. 
We fired a shot to announce the good news, and the two men 
went back with water for the others. The porters soon arrived, 
many of them without their loads, and we were soon revelling 
in the luxury of abundance of water, after forty-one hours' total 

We had found water, but we had found more than we 
wanted. Through the middle of the swamp there flowed a 
river, which was too deep to wade, and too swift to swim. 
It ought not to have been there, for we were now close 
to a well-known road, and neither of the latest maps 
showed any sign of a river at the place. But we did not 
trouble about this : we drank what we wanted, and let the rest 
run by. We could not understand whence the river came, and 
at first we did not care ; but when, a few hours later, we pro- 
posed to resume our march, we had to care. We found that 
the river flowed from a gorge in the mountains and entered the 
northern end of the lake ; we were therefore compelled to cross 
it. Omari and I spent a couple of hours wading along the 
hippopotamus paths, that ran like tunnels through the reeds, 
in search of a place where we could cross. The only possible 
ford was at the edge of a waterfall ; but the rocks were covered 
with slime and algae, and a slip would have plunged us into a 
pool and into the close company of some crocodiles. It is not 
as a rule advisable to allow the fear of crocodiles to interfere 
with plans, but in deep muddy water they are dangerous, and 
neither of us chose to risk a fall into the pool below. We had 
at last to recognise that it would be necessary to bridge the 
river. We came to this decision very reluctantly, for there 
was no food left, and the delay was serious. A clump of 
acacias stood beside the camp, and men were set to fell timber 
and hew it into a convenient shape. The men worked in 
relays by firelight through the night, and in the morning the 


beams were ready. We dragged them through the swamp to 
a point below the waterfall, where the river ran between steep 
banks of clay, which afforded a good foundation. We threw a 
light trestle bridge across the river, and crossed by it in safety. 
An hour later we passed a huge sycamore, close by one of 
Teleki's old camps ; beyond this we forded a stream (the 
Mudoleto), flowing northward into the swamps to the south 
of Baringo. 

Soon afterwards, on crossing a ridge, we saw steam rising 
from the ground, and knew that we had reached the hot 
springs of " Maji Moto." The men ran forward singing, 
while I stopped behind to collect and make some observa- 
tions. When I came up to them, I found them bathing 
in the springs and enjoying themselves thoroughly — larking, 
indeed, like a lot of schoolboys. The ordinary caravan route 
passes beside the springs, so we knew that there were no 
further obstacles between us and Njemps. We felt assured 
that there a supply of welcome food awaited us, and some days 
of equally welcome rest. I could not resist the temptation to 
ask my hungry men the precise delicacy which each hoped 
was in store for him. I told them they could follow on at 
leisure, and in the hope of having food ready for them on their 
arrival, I started with Fundi, the interpreter Ramathan, and my 
boy Philip, at the best pace we could achieve, in hot haste for 

We took at first a north-westerly course round the lower 
flanks of three " fault ridges " of lava ; we kept upon these as 
long as possible, for the lowland was one vast swamp, but when 
they trended too far to the west, we struck off across the plain 
for the woods around Njemps. We soon entered the shambas, 
which are of enormous extent and watered by hundreds of 
irrigation channels and ditches, which we had to wade or 
jump. The crops consisted in the main of dhurra or millet, 
but only the stubble of the previous season's crop remained 
upon the ground. While collecting some plants I startled, and 
was startled by, a family of ostriches, but Philip had my rifle, 
so I lost that chance of food ; and later on I wasted a car- 
tridge in a flying shot at a small antelope belonging to the 
genus Madoqua. At length we left the fields and entered a 
forest of acacias, with an undergrowth of mimosa scrub ; the 


path had been worn by the feet of many generations into a 
hollow, that served as a channel for a sluggish stream often 
3 feet in depth. But having to wade along this did not 
lessen our sense of the welcome coolness of the shade. The 
paths became more numerous, and, after a long wade — which 
was rendered even less pleasant than usual by the odour that 
arose as our feet churned up the slimy ooze at the bottom — 
the ground began to rise, and I guessed that we were approach- 
ing the river. A stream 3 feet wide was jumped by all 
except the fat boy, who preferred to wade, and was in conse- 
quence knocked over by the current, which was rushing down 
like a mill-race ; but I was too excited to stop and help him, 
and shouting to the others to take care of the rifle, I walked 
quickly up the path through the wood. A family of monkeys 
fled screaming through the trees, a green parrot shrieked its 
shrillest in rage at being disturbed from its midday nap, and 
flew across the river. A few steps more and a sharp turn in 
the path brought me to the steep bank of the Nyuki. On the 
opposite side was a cluster of beehive huts, densely grouped 
in the shade of some lofty acacias, and protected by a strong 
double thorn stockade. It was the village of Njemps Mdogo. 
The river ran swiftly in a deep channel that it had cut through 
the red sandy alluvium. A fallen tree formed a rude bridge a 
little distance up stream, and I preferred to scramble across its 
slippery trunk and through its irregular branches, rather than 
to cross the ford opposite the village. I paused for a minute 
on the bridge ; for a water-snake was gracefully wriggling up 
the river, and the temptation was irresistible to flatten a revolver 
bullet on the head of a crocodile that was basking on the 
bank. As it was two o'clock in the afternoon, no one was 
about ; an air of drowsy peace and security seemed to rest 
upon the village, as about an English hamlet on a summer 
Sunday afternoon. So with visions of a week of rest, with a 
rich harvest of precious specimens to be gathered in the day- 
time, and unbroken sleep at night, I walked gaily up the path 
to the low narrow gateway, and fired off a couple of shots to 
announce my arrival. A native crawled along the passage cut 
through the otherwise impenetrable hedge of thorns to see who 
I was. He was a tall Njcmpsian, with a breadth of shoulder 
that told of former fine physique ; but he was terribly emaciated. 


and stooped from sheer weakness. He looked at me for a 
moment with his dreamy, hollow, shrunken eyes ; then with a 
sad smile held out his hand and said, " Yambo, yambo." His 
aspect was that of a starving man, and filled me with dis- 
may. I knew from his salute that he must know a little 
Kisuahili, so I eagerly asked him if there were much food in 
Njemps. " Jocula, tele jocula ? " he repeated, and his sickly 
smile faded into a look of bitter despair. " Jocula Jiapana " 
(There is no food), he said with an emphasis that his appearance 
made superfluous. Yet I assumed, or at least tried to assume, 
a sceptical aspect, and pointed to the village, and asked him 
what the people all lived on if they had no food. In reply he 
only glanced up at the trees, tore off a few leaves from a branch 
he carried in his hand, and voraciously munched them. I 
pointed again to the highlands of Kamasia, rising like a wall 
on the western horizon, and asked if there were food there. 
" Jocula hapana," he repeated ; but after a pause he turned 
to the north-west, and waving his hand several times in that 
direction said, " Mbali, mbali, jocula kidogo " (Very far, very 
far away, there is a little food). 

Fundi and Ramathan then came up, having been delayed 
in pulling Philip out of the stream : I at once set the latter to 
cross-question the native in his own language. But he could 
only tell us that last year they had had no rain, and so the 
crops had failed, and this year the rains had been so heavy 
that the crops had been washed away with the soil on which 
they grew. I staggered across the path and sat down on a 
fallen tree-trunk, while visions rushed through my mind of the 
disappointment of the caravan, how Wadi Hamis would 
grumble, how each of the Wakame would look the image of 
despair, and Omari would become even sadder and more 
thoughtful than he had lately been, I rummaged for a whet- 
stone in one of my capacious pockets, and began to sharpen my 
already supersharpened hunting-knife. When this mechanical 
motion had dulled the sickening sense of disappointment, I 
could contemplate more at ease all that was meant by the 
simple statement : " There is no food in Njemps." 



"Ay, now am I in Arden ; the more fool I ; when I was at home, I was in a 
better place : but travellers must be content." — .-Is Yoit Like It, ii. 4. 

NjEMPS is the district on the floor of the great Rift Valley, 
at the southern end of Lake Baringo. It is inhabited by a 
section of the tribe of the Wakauvi, who are related to the 
Masai ; they are, however, agriculturalists, having abandoned 
the pastoral nomadic habits of their ancestors. The first 
European who succeeded in reaching this country was Joseph 
Thomson in 1883. He gave the natives a character for 
trustful friendliness and simple honesty, which has been con- 
firmed by every subsequent traveller. So peaceful are the 
Njempsians that one can walk about their country unarmed 
and unattended, or chase butterflies or stalk zebras with as 
little fear as if one were rambling through English lanes. In 
contrast to the caution necessary in the land of the Masai, 
this feature makes Njemps a welcome haven of rest for the 
weary. The country, moreover, is usually rich in food, and 
caravans refill their empty sacks for the journey northward 
over the foodless wastes that must be traversed in order to 
reach the ivory-yielding districts of Karamoyo and Samburu. 

I had been warned both by Captain Williams and Mr. 
Martin that it would not be safe to rely on getting much food 
at Njemps, but that I could doubtless procure enough to take 
my small caravan on to Kamasia, where it could be obtained 
in any quantity at a small price. Captain Williams advised 
me to make assurance doubly sure by having at least one day's 
food in hand when I reached Njemps ; and, but for the dis- 


turbance of my calculations on Lake Losuguta, I should have 
had this. I had, however, distributed the last load with the 
less hesitation, as I felt persuaded that in a district where there 
was sufficient food to support two such large villages as Njemps 
Mdogo and Njemps Mkubwa, enough could surely be obtained 
somehow to ration forty men for a couple of days. If this 
could not be done, I resolved to leave the loads and sluggards 
at Njemps, and push on to Kamasia by forced marches. I 
had never doubted that I could get as much as I wanted there, 
and the news that the famine extended not only over Njemps, 
but also over the rich plateaux to the west, was a blow as stagger- 
ing as it was unexpected. I had always regarded the failure of 
supplies at Njemps as a possibility, but as one that could only 
be a nuisance. Now, however, it was obvious that the extension 
of the famine to Kamasia might easily mean a disaster to my 

My plan of action was soon settled, but I was still sitting 
on the log, wondering how I could most easily appease 
the wrath of the caravan, when I was interrupted by a soft 
voice giving me the Arab greeting " Subulkairi." It came 
from an elderly Arab dressed in a spotless white robe or 
" kanzu," which would have looked eminently respectable in 
any bazaar in Zanzibar. The usual dialogue of salutations 
followed, and he made rne a long speech of welcome in an easy 
flow of Kisuahili. I was too charmed by its musical rhythm to 
bother about the meaning, and told Ramathan to make an 
appropriate reply. The Arab led me by the hand into the 
village and introduced me to his friends, a company of Mombasa 
merchants ; they were waiting at Njemps for the return of the 
parties they had sent off in different directions to purchase 
ivory. They asked me if I were hungry, and I confessed I 
was ; I believe I looked it. They gave me a bowl of delicious 
bean-flour " potiss," or gruel, and a cupful of sour cream ; a 
plague of flies lessened the comfort of the meal, for in spite of 
the efforts of two of the Arab's slaves to keep them off by 
flourishing over me zebra and eland tails, a crust of drowned 
and drowning flies made the food look like a black-cap pudding. 
At first I dived for flyless handfuls — my spoons had not yet 
arrived — in the deeper strata of the mass ; but as a few of my 
tormentors were always picked up between the basin and my 


mouth, I ceased to struggle against the inevitable, and com- 
pleted that meal on the principle of " Open your mouth and 
shut your eyes, and see what fate will send you." My new 
friends had not heard from the coast for fifteen months, so 
I told them all the news that I thought would interest them ; 
such as that Mr. Piggott was now " Bwana Mkubwa " at 
Mombasa ; that the Sultan of Zanzibar was dead and another 
was reigning in his stead ; that the British East Africa Com- 
pany had withdrawn from Uganda, and that Sir Gerald Portal 
had gone there to take it over in the name of the British 
Government. They were delighted to receive news, and when 
I asked about food for my men, a load was at once given me ; 
I was told, moreover, that if I had cowries and " kiketi," I 
could buy as much as I wanted in Kamasia. So, fully recovered 
from my fright, I strolled down to the ford to meet the porters. 
I saw at once that the men had heard the news of the famine ; 
they had been told of it by some women whom they had met 
on the road. Wadi Hamis marched first with a look of de- 
spairing triumph on his surly, pock - marked face. " Jocula 
hapana, bwana " (No food, master), he growled with an I-told- 
you-so sort of air. The attitude of the three Wanyamwezi, 
who followed him, was very different ; their sympathetic looks 
showed that they felt rather sorrow for mc in my perplexities, 
than regret at the prospect of suffering for themselves. So I 
hastened to relieve their anxieties by telling them in as off- 
hand a manner as I could, " Upaci fannya motu — Jocula tiari " 
(Make fires quickly — the food is ready). The news ran back 
along the line of men across the ford ; the shouts of joy cheered 
on the stragglers, and camp was soon pitched under the shade 
of some acacias on a sandy plain near the western gate of 
the village. We bought firewood from some women, rations 
were served out, and the men were soon merrily cooking their 
food and fraternising with the porters of the trading caravan. 

Kizizi, the chief of Njemps, was now in Kamasia, but was 
due back next day, and it was advisable to make friends with 
him. The Arabs offered me the loan of 500 lbs. of flour, and 
said if necessary I could pay for it in Mombasa ; so there was 
no immediate necessity to go on, and I decided to rest next 
day and see Kizizi. 

The traders visited my camp in the morning, and Philip 


acted as interpreter to a shauri that began most amiably. At 
last Timami, who was the chief spokesman and president of the 
caravan, asked me to sell them some cartridges, as they had 
used all theirs shooting food. This I did not believe, for I 
knew they were not cannibals, and one of the party had 
previously confessed they had used up all their ammunition in 
a fight with a tribe six weeks' journey to the north-west. I had 
given a solemn pledge, in accordance with the terms of the 
Brussels Convention, not to " give, assign, or sell to any person 
or persons " either arms or ammunition. As natives are not 
allowed to have breech-loading rifles on any pretence whatever, 
I had been surprised to find that the caravan had both Sniders 
and Remingtons, and had therefore taken precautions to prevent 
the porters selling either cartridges or the powder out of them. 
From the moment of my final refusal to sell cartridges, the 
attitude of the traders changed ; and, with the exception of 
the two Beluchi, they did what they could to hinder instead of 
help me. They suddenly discovered that the Njemps' state- 
ments were true, that there was no food in Kamasia, and it was 
useless for me to go there. I replied that if there was none 
there, I would go on to Elgeyo or Kavirondo. They then tried 
the effects of intimidation, and told me the story of the massacre 
of Bishop Hannington and his men, embellishing their account 
with as many unnecessary horrors as they could remember or 
invent ; they assured me that his caravan was a much larger 
one than mine, and solemnly warned me against going into such 
a district with so small a force. I laughed at their fears, and 
explained that I regarded Bishop Hannington's fate as due to 
negligence, as his men were apparently undrilled, and the natives 
had been able to take him prisoner without a shot being fired. 
I pointed out that, like the Bishop, I was a man of peace, but if 
necessary was quite ready to fight anybody and everybody on 
the road, and that my camp would never be taken by surprise. 
As they saw such intimidation as they could try had no effect, 
they fell back on entreaties ; they said there was a little food in 
northern Elgeyo, but since the time when Dachi-tumbo (Count 
Teleki) had raided there and massacred the natives, they would 
not sell to Europeans. I was assured that if I persisted in 
going, the natives would at once burn their villages and fly to 
the hills. The Arabs suggested that I should stay behind in 



Njemps, and send Omari into Elgeyo to purchase food, while 
one of them would act as guide to him ; I asked which 
of them would go, and they pointed out the very Arab whom 
they had only just told me had that day come back from this 
district at the request of his porters and slaves, as the natives 
mistook him for a Mzungu (European) and would not sell him 
food. I called their attention to this little inconsistency, and 
was then shamelessly told that this incident had happened twelve 
months before, and that the man was now blood-brother with all 
the chiefs. I thought at first that they really only wanted to 
make me buy my food from them at exorbitant rates, and so 
determined to go on ; but, with an unfortunate excess of caution, 
before breaking up the conference, I obtained from Timami as 
exact a description as he could give of the place where Teleki 
was said to have raided, I was quite certain that Teleki had 
never even been there, and that his great fight for food took 
place much farther to the north ; but the description tallied 
precisely with the locality where Dr. Peters had performed one 
of his marauding exploits, I attached no importance whatever 
to the string of lies and contradictions I had detected in the 
traders' statements, for they were but Orientals, and it would 
have been absurd to expect in them a Teutonic sense of truth. 
I was dealing with people among whom, as Mrs, Humphrey 
Ward would put it, " the capacity for testimony has not 
developed," I had to remember that their lies were possibly 
not lying lies, uttered with an intention to deceive, but mere 
dots and dashes honestly inserted to carry conviction of an 
argument, otherwise truthful. So, though I had demonstrated 
the falseness of their two premises, by showing that Teleki had 
never been in the district in question, and that a man who had 
just failed on his own account would not be likely to succeed 
on mine, this did not blind me to the fact that in modern 
Arabian logic the truth of the conclusion is in no way connected 
with that of the premises. So, accepting with Mrs. Ward that 
" the witness of the time is not true, nor, in the strict sense, 
false ; it is merely incompetent, half-trained, pre-scientific," I 
broke up the conference in order to talk things over with 

I found that he also disbelieved the traders' statements of 
facts, but feared there was some truth in their main argument, 


and that Teleki was bearing the blame, while I had to face the 
punishment, of Karl Peters' misdeeds. Later on, one of the 
traders to whom I had rather taken a fancy — a Beluch, named 
Jumma ben Abdullah — came back privately to beg me not to 
go ; there was a look of sincerity in the man's face, and I 
resolved to be frank. So without any effort to soften my words, 
I told him that he knew they had been telling me lies, and 
asked him why they did not want me to go. For a moment 
he hesitated and then said : " We don't want you to go, because 
we are dependent for our food supplies on that district, and we 
fear you will spoil our market ; you have kiketi (large blue beads 
much prized there) and cowries, and we have not. If you go, 
you will either spoil our market, or the natives will fear you 
and run away, and we shall get no food for our return journey 
to the coast." 

This seemed to me reasonable ; and though it was equally 
possible that they had been raiding up there, and did not want 
me to follow on their trail, it was hopeless for me to attempt 
to decide as to which was the true motive. So after talking 
the matter over with Omari, I determined to send him to 
Elgeyo with twenty-two men to buy as much food as they could 
carry back ; I could meanwhile explore Baringo and try to find 
a route northward to Basso Narok (Lake Rudolf) intermediate 
between the two used by Teleki. After we had got the 
food, I thought I could go on to Kamasia to examine the gneiss 
outcrop reported there by Thomson, and draw an east and west 
section across the Rift Valley. The latter was really the main 
object of the expedition, and I resolved to carry it out at any 
cost or hazard. 

The Arabs seemed much relieved when I announced my 
decision, and that I had arranged to leave two men with the 
donkeys, sheep, and most of the loads in the village. I told 
Omari that I must have Fundi Mabruk, as he had been with 
Teleki, and a porter named Alii, as he could speak a little of 
the Masai language, but I would leave the selection of the other 
men to him. He asked me to take Wadi Hamis, Mwini 
Amiri, Abdullah, and Stahabu, as they were the four worst men 
in the caravan, and he feared that if they went with him, they 
might get into trouble with the natives and ruin the chance of 
buying food. Ramathan Jumma was chosen as my Askari, as 


he was less to be trusted with an independent command, and it 
might be necessary for Omari to send back a party to Njemps 
with messages and food. 

Loads were packed, the number of cartridges in each man's 
possession recounted, and early next morning Omari started 
for Elgeyo. The reserve goods were stored in a hut which 
Kizizi lent me. I had to wait for a short time until the boys 
had collected some spiders, and these had spun lines of web 
across the cracks around the door. I was then asked to take 
particular notice of the arrangement of these, so that on my 
return I could be sure that no one had been into the hut to 
steal my goods. Then after giving last instructions to the men 
left to look after the sheep and donkeys, we started northward 
across the red sand plain on the way to Baringo. 

I had asked Kizizi for a guide who could be trusted, who 
knew the native place-names, and was a good walker. He 
picked out for me a primitive-looking savage named Lomweri, 
who satisfied these three requirements so well that he proved a 
perfect treasure. I had often heard of the " simple Ethiopian," 
but I doubt if any of the natives whom I had previously met 
with could be truly described as men of no guile. But Lomweri 
was as simple an innocent as one could hope to meet. His 
character, as well as his costume, reminded me greatly of 
Rudyard Kipling's hero, Gunga Din — 

" The uniform 'e wore 

Was nothing much before, 
And a httle less than 'alf o' that be'ind, 

For a piece o' twisty rag 

And a goatskin water bag 
Was all the field equipment 'e could find." 

The main difference in the costume of Gunga Din and my 
guide Lomweri was the absence of any piece of rag, twisty 
or otherwise. When we started I gave him a few " hands " 
of cotton cloth by way of prepayment, and also in the hope 
that he would have considered our feelings sufficiently to 
have worn at least part of it. But Lomweri was far too 
prudent. As he afterwards pointed out, if worn it would get 
dirty and crumpled ; moreover, the thorns would tear it, while 
neither dirt nor scratches would matter on his skin. Nor did 
he need clothes for the sake of pockets, for he carried his 


impedimenta, a toothpick and a quid of tobacco, in the 
expanded lobe of his left ear. So after the cloth had been duly 
stroked, and patted, and licked, it was tied up into a bundle 
and left safely at home in Njemps. His only weapon was a 
bow and arrows, but he was such an appallingly bad shot that 
he could not have carried these except to charm his lady friends 
and frighten his foes. His intellectual attainments were as 
simple as his personal adornments. His vocabulary was most 
limited ; he could only count up to five, and had no idea of 
distance ; everything that was not in sight was " loqua " (far 
off), a word he used so much that we gave it him as a nickname. 
His appetite was insatiable, and nothing to him was unclean, 
at least when away from the eyes of the Mrs. Grundy of 
Njemps ; and when properly fed, he was a splendid walker and 
simply did not know the meaning of fatigue. Within a narrow 
range, his knowledge of the country was surprisingly exact, 
though he knew nothing of the Masai-haunted countries beyond 
one day's march to the south and east. He had the morals of 
a child of five ; he begged for everything he saw, and was 
never abashed by refusal. He would eat three roast duck 
straight off before my eyes, and then declare with tears and 
lamentations that he was dying of starvation. He could be 
terrorised by the men into saying anything, and while they were 
listening would lie by the yard. But for all this, he had a 
simple instinct of duty which nothing could shake ; as far as it 
went, he followed it with a blind faithfulness and carelessness 
of consequence that won my admiration and regard. 

Under the guidance of this psychological curiosity we 
crossed the open plain, until the scrub thickened and passed 
into the forests beside the Tigirish, We made very little pro- 
gress that day. The men, except Fundi, were all as angry as 
they could be ; they seized every possible excuse for delay, and 
it was past noon before we reached Njemps Mkubwa, or 
" Njemps the Larger," and crossed the Tigirish to the north of 
the town. The ford was deep, the current swift, and the banks 
were steep and formed of slippery greasy clay, while the 
abundance of crocodiles did not add to the pleasure of the 
passage. I shot a couple of the brutes, to the intense delight 
of the natives. 

The men objected to going any farther that day, as they 


declared that the guide said there was no water or camping- 
ground ahead for at least eight hours. This was manifestly 
untrue ; so with the few words of Kikauvi that I had picked up, 
I questioned Lomweri, but could only make out that we must 
stop there for the night, as Kizizi was coming to see us in the 
evening ; and I could see that the guide had been so bullied 
by the porters that he would say anything. I felt a certain 
amount of sympathy for the men, as they had had a very rough 
time of it lately, and had doubtless been looking forward to a 
long rest at Njemps. There was therefore some excuse for 
their bad temper, and I did not like to be hard on them, so I 
consented to pitch camp at once. Kizizi came in the evening, 
and I also had a visit from a native of the town, who had been 
with Teleki to Reschiat and back to Mombasa. He told me 
that the name of the great salt lake to the south of Njemps is 
Pirias, but I could get no recognition of this name from any 
other native of the district and so distrust it. He was an 
intelligent man, and spoke Kisuahili very fairly, but with a 
curious, and even comic, guttural accent. He possessed also 
three other accomplishments as a result of his contact with 
civilisation — the ability to put on clothes, to smoke, and to swear. 
The last he had acquired very thoroughly. 

We had been annoyed all day by swarms of flies. They 
blackened the roof of my tent, and turned my basin of pea-soup 
into a dipterous decoction. The flies, however, were harmless 
in comparison with the mosquitoes, which rose like a mist from 
the marshes immediately after sunset. Mosquito curtains were 
far away with civilisation, and so I could only wrap myself in 
my blanket-bag. Its texture was sufficiently impenetrable to 
allow me complacently to pity the porters, whose thin cotton 
sheeting was easily pierced. But mosquitoes are bed-fellows 
that facilitate early rising ; the men were eager to be off in 
the morning, and asserted that they had never experienced such 
a night before. We reached the south shore of Lake Baringo 
fairly early, and as I was anxious to communicate with the 
natives, we camped opposite the island of Lukrum and fired a 
couple of signal-shots. Meanwhile I started off to explore the 
course of a river called the Ndow, which enters the swamps at the 
mouth of the Tigirish. I was at first much puzzled in trying 
to reconcile the maps of von Hohnel and Thomson of this part 


of the lake, either with one another or with the facts. Von 
Hohnel omits the Ndow, but I found out later that he must 
have passed a little distance to the west, on the platform that 
forms the lowest of the foot-hills of Kamasia, under which the 
Ndow flows by a subterranean course. Where we forded it, the 
river was 30 feet broad and 3 feet deep, and flowed with a 
powerful current between banks raised above the level of the 
surrounding plain. 

Next day I intended to camp at the north-west corner of 
the lake, while the men seemed determined not to march at 
all, and it was only after some delay that a start was made. 
I pointed out the position where I wanted camp pitched, and 
then struck off westward to examine some old lake beaches, 
formed when the level of Baringo was much higher than at 
present, and to look for fossil shells and living antelope. 
Farther to the north I returned to the shore to pick up the 
trail of the men, but could not find it, so I sent Lomweri back 
with a note to Philip ordering them to hurry on, while I 
climbed a lava crag to sketch, and take a round of angles for 
the map. An hour later the guide returned with a somewhat 
impudently-worded letter from the boy, telling me the men 
refused to come on, and asking me to return and hear what 
they had to say. I rushed back at once and found that the 
loads had been dropped in disorder, the microscope smashed, 
a lot of preserving spirit thrown away, and that the men had 
bolted, leaving the two boys to guard the goods. Later on 
the Askari came sneaking up to us, but he would say 
nothing except that the men were hiding in the swamp, and 
were going back to Njemps as soon as it was dark. A little 
before sunset the others came near and sent in a message to 
ask if I would hold a shauri, which I was only too glad to do. 
Wadi Hamis acted as spokesman, and a very insolent spokes- 
man he proved. He said they had seen Wasuk, that it was 
not safe for so few men to travel alone in that country, and 
that they would not go on or obey orders any more. I had 
no trouble in pulverising these arguments, for the guide con- 
fessed that Sukuta — the country of the Wasuk — was some 
days' journey to the north, and that he had seen no signs of 
any strangers in the district ; and, as I reminded the men, both 
Kizizi and the Arabs had said in their presence that we 


should be perfectly safe. I taunted them with their cowardice 
in leaving me for some time alone and unwarned, on the very 
hill where they said the Wasuk were in ambush. The men 
were as insolent as they could be, except Fundi and the 
Askari, who were a picture of despair and grief. The shauri 
was throughout a stormy one ; Wadi Hamis at last pushed a 
cartridge into his Snider, seized his sleeping mat, kicked over 
his load, and said that I might go where I liked, but that he 
was going back to Mombasa to appeal to Judge Jenner. 
"Then as you have appealed to Judge Jenner, to Judge Jenner 
you shall go," I replied, as I angrily swung round on my heel ; 
" but to-night you shall all stop here, and to-morrow I will go 
on alone." 

The poor guide had been sitting through the shauri open- 
eyed and open-mouthed, intensely puzzled by the whole per- 
formance. By the aid of signs and gestures I explained that 
I was going on alone, but he could come with me or go back 
with the men, whichever he pleased. He replied at once that 
he must keep with me. After our return to Njemps, when I 
had the assistance of an interpreter, I asked him why he did 
not go back with the others, as they had tried to make him 
do. " I hoped you would go back," he replied, " for if the 
Wasuk had caught us, they would have killed us ; but if you 
went on, I had to go on too, for what should I have said when 
Kizizi asked me, ' Where is the White Man I sent you with, 
to show him the way with the fewest thorns, to wherever he 
wanted to go ? ' If I had told him, ' The White Man has gone 
on and I have come back,' then Kizizi would have killed not 
only me, but my wives and children, and wiped my family out 
of the tribe." 

My own course of action was perfectly clear ; to have re- 
turned to Njemps would have been a sheer waste of time, as 
I could do nothing until Omari had come back from Elgeyo. 
I was, moreover, extremely anxious to examine the passes 
leading north from Baringo, especially since I had discovered 
how much higher the level of the lake had formerly been ; for 
I now wished to determine whether the lake had ever had an 
outlet to the north. It had been believed that Baringo was 
one of the sources of the Nile, and though Thomson had 
shown this is not so at present, it seemed quite possible that 



such may once have been the case. I calculated that I could 
easily complete my survey of the lake in four or five days, 
during which time the shot-gun would supply ample food ; I 
had slept out in the open far too often to be in any way 
concerned about the absence of a tent. Storms of rain were 
certain to occur, but a bivouac that could be constructed in 
half an hour would afford fair protection against these ; my 
only serious regret was at having to go on without collecting 

I packed up a few medicines and filled a pocket with 
cartridges, which was all the luggage I intended to burden 
myself with, and having made these preparations, sat up 
writing, as I feared if I went to sleep the men would bolt during 
the night. Shortly after midnight I heard some one walk 
quietly up to the tent. I coughed to show that I was awake 
and indicate my exact position, which, it is barely necessary 
to add, I immediately changed. I was relieved to hear Fundi 
say, " Bwana, may I come in ? " He asked if I were really 
going on, and hearing that I was, told me how twice before, 
when with enormous caravans, he had been through terrible 
fights with the fierce Wasuk, who had killed more of his 
comrades than the whole number of men in my caravan ; 
" But if you go, I must go on too," he concluded. 

I simply thanked him, and assured him that if I did not 
fear to go on, he ought not to do so either. But I was very 
glad to get him, for the fact that he had joined the mutiny 
was the bitterest constituent in this very unpleasant pill. I 
neither liked nor trusted any of the other men, but Fundi was 
a favourite. 

The youngest of the porters, a mere boy named Baron 
Abbas, then came in and reminded me how I had nursed him 
when he had been ill on the Tana, and said he must go where 
I went. A third, a three-quarter-witted porter named Alii, 
and the two boys then said they would come on too ; so I 
could now look forward to the rest of the excursion without 
the feeling that it was going to be a case of work all day and 
watch all night. 

Next day the mutineers returned to Njemps, where they 
were stopped by the absence of food and presence of the 
Masai farther to the south ; the rest of us continued our way 


northward along the shore. We crossed a number of lava 
sheets, broken by parallel faults into a series of cliff-faced 
terraces ; one of these, rising directly out of the lake, com- 
pelled us to go a little distance inland. Elephant tracks were 
abundant, but they were at least two months old, and we saw 
no game of any kind. I pointed out a suitable place for the 
camp on the northern shore, and told the men I would join 
them there at sunset ; I followed the raised beaches of the 
lake across the northern watershed, at a point where Lake 
Baringo must once have had an outlet to the north. The pass 
is dominated by a massive, straight-faced, flat-topped lava hill 
named Lobat ; I intended to climb it, until I saw that time 
could be more profitably spent on the pass than on the peak. 
The view from the former, however, was very fine ; it embraced 
a long stretch of desert that sloped northward between the 
peaks of Mesuri and Chibchangnani, that terminated the 
escarpments of Kamasia and Elgeyo on the west, and the 
ridges of Weweini and Subugu Loluko, that formed outliers of 
the Laikipia plateau on the east. 

At the other end of this basin, less than ninety miles away, 
was the southern shore of the great Basso Narok (Lake 
Rudolf). It was mournful to have to turn back when so near 
it, but it was useless to go unless I could get some time there for 
scientific collecting. To have dashed across the desert simply 
for the fun of dashing back again and saying that I had been 
there, would have been an unjustifiable waste of time and 
energy, and a needless risk. More than two months of my 
five had already gone, and there was nothing for it but to 
lament the waste of time on the Tana, and go back to camp. 
This it was now high time to do, for the sun's lower rim was 
already resting on the western plateau, and Lomweri was 
going through a pantomimic show to remind me that when 
the sun had set, the lions would rise. " Kampi lokwa, Pokwa " 
(The camp is far off, O Bulging Pockets), he had been repeating 
for some time past, making as good an effort as he could to 
pronounce my nickname, which he had learnt from the men. 
After a last look over the northern desert, at the rose-tinted 
slopes of the eastern hills, and the dark shadow that was 
creeping from the frowning cliffs of Kamasia across the spark- 
ling salt steppes, we turned to go. We recrossed the Lobat 


Pass in the twilight, and in the darkness scrambled over 
ridges, and forced our way through the thorn scrub down to 
the northern shore of the lake, I fired a signal-shot, and the 
reply guided us into camp. 

The remainder of this excursion was most delightful and 
restful, at least mentally, for Lomweri and I did our twelve 
hours' walking every day. There were no natives to worry us, 
and the men were so ashamed of their part in the row that 
they did their work without a grumble. Wild duck were 
abundant ; I had therefore no trouble about the commis- 
sariat, as I often brought down ten at once, with a right and 
left. The absence of vegetable food was unwholesome, but the 
ducks roasted on spits over the fire were simply delicious. 

The scenery, too, was most charming. A view of Elgeyo 
would occasionally suggest doubts as to how things were going 
up there, but thinking about this could do no good until our 
return to Njemps ; so the subject was resolutely kept in the 
background, and not allowed to disturb my enjoyment of the 
ever -varying panorama of quiet bays and rocky headlands. 
The northern shore of the lake is especially picturesque ; for 
the lava sheets that form it have been broken by faults into 
a series of troughs with vertical walls, arranged as regularly as 
if they had been drawn with a parallel ruler. The summits 
of the ridges and the floors of the valley are flat, and slope 
gently southward toward the lake ; in this, the former end 
either abruptly as cliff-bounded promontories, or as jagged ribs 
of rock continued by lines of islets. The ground is covered 
with rich green turf, studded with gorgeous meadow flowers, 
while here and there are patches of scrub. The shrubs of 
which these consist are not dreary, spine - leaved acacias, 
but are clumps of Dombeya, with masses of dense green 
foliage glowing with an outer crust of brilliant yellow bloom ; 
there is the willow-like Lelesha {TarcJionanthes cavip/ioratus), 
which, like the olive, when the silver gray of the under sides of 
the leaves is seen, as the branches sway on the breeze, " turn 
all hoary to the wind," Where the valleys reach the shore- 
line they form bays fringed by dense growths of reeds, rushes, 
and papyrus, and containing acres of the light green cabbage- 
like rosettes of Pistia stratiotes, amid which rise the bright 
blue flowers of the Lotus. In the open waters beyond sport 


schools of hippopotami — a small, dark -coloured variety — 
which grunted at us as we passed. Flocks of wild fowl 
browsed on the weeds and algae, fish-eating birds dived after 
their prey, and every now and then the sharp crack of the 
jaws of a crocodile would tell us that the tables were turned, 
and that the birds were food as well as feeders. The crocodiles 
occur in enormous numbers, especially among the bays that are 
almost choked with vegetation ; there they lay like logs amid the 
rushes, preying on the ducks that swarm on the pools. Bates ^ 
tells us that in some of the upper waters of the Amazon the 
alligators occur in huddled, jostling crowds, and are as thick 
as tadpoles in an English ditch. Until I saw Baringo I thought 
this wild exaggeration. In such places I never got all the birds 
I shot, and to secure anything like a fair share of the bag I 
had to plunge in at once. Fortunately the crocodiles are as 
cowardly as voracious, and shouts and splashes readily drove 
them away. One evening in the dusk I almost tumbled over 
one that I had not noticed, and though it fled at once, if 
possible more frightened than I was, I never waded for duck 
again. After that I always sent in the men on the excuse 
that the wet spoiled my boots and clothes ; if none of the 
porters were with me I left the duck severely alone. In this 
work Lomweri was absolutely useless ; his ingrained terror of 
crocodiles was so abject that it would have been pitiable had it 
not been so comic. He would stand on the margin of the 
swamp wringing his hands in agony, and imploring us to come 
back ; but when we brought in the birds he would dance with 
glee, pat his stomach, and smack his lips, and when the ducks 
were roasted, he would beat any of us in the pace at which he 
ate them. 

The one disappointment of the return journey was the 
failure to reach a small archipelago of islands in the southern 
half of the lake ; I wanted at first to visit them to see the 
Wakwafi who inhabit them, but the islands themselves 
acquired an interest, when I learnt to recognise in them the 
broken remnants of a volcanic cone. The natives, however, 
held aloof, and I postponed building a raft till I could return 
to the lake later on. Lomweri and I once surprised a couple 
of the natives on the shore, but neither the guide's assurances 

1 H. W. Bates, A Naturalist on the Amazons, 5th ed. p. 299. 


of friendship nor my offers of strings of beads would tempt 
them near us. We could easily have cut off their retreat to 
their skin coracle, but forced friendship would have been useless, 
and we let them get into their tub and paddle off. 

Our march back along the east shore was rendered un- 
pleasant by the vast extent of swamp through which we had to 
wade ; the route to Njemps twice followed by Teleki was now 
so flooded that it was impassable. The deviation to the south 
that this rendered necessary, and a delay caused by a hunt for 
Philip, who had lost himself, to my great annoyance lost us a 
day. We had to keep along an old lake terrace on the eastern 
side of the Rift Valley, and wade a swamp that ran up 
" Summuran Bay " into a fault valley into the hills ; we crossed 
the lower slopes of the terraced ridges of Lolbogo, forded the 
swift and muddy Mudoleto, and finally struck the path from 
Maji Moto, by which we had originally reached Njemps. 

I was welcomed back most cordially by Kizizi, who said he 
had been seriously alarmed as to my safety ; he had arrested 
the porters, kept them inside the village, and seized their loads. 
As they had not been able to get any food, they were now 
starved into tameness and submission. Though Omari had 
promised to send back a native, there was no news from him. 
Sokoni, the chief of the guides at Njemps, had returned from 
Kamasia the day before and came in to see me. I had 
messages to him from Mr. Martin, and we had an interesting 
chat. He remembered Mr. Thomson's visit very well, and had 
acted as Teleki's guide in the march to Basso Narok ; he told 
me several stories of the hardships of that expedition, during 
which he had several times abandoned all hope of return. The 
information he gave me about Elgeyo and Kamasia was most 
disquieting, and some of his remarks increased my distrust of 
the coast-traders, and regret that I had allowed Omari to go 
off alone. I therefore resolved to follow him, and told my 
" stalwarts " they could rest in Njemps, and ordered the rebels 
to be ready to start next day for the hills. Wadi Hamis had 
the impudence to protest against my going with only five men 
against " such Waschenzi " as the people of Kamasia. As he 
was speaking, there came back to me the memory of a scene 
in a geyser basin in the Rockies, at the end of some hours of 
waiting for an eruption which did not come off ; my guide had 


guaranteed a performance, and was very angry at the failure of 
his pet geyser. As we turned to go, he made one last effort, 
apostrophising the geyser, and in the name of all the gods of a 
Yankee stable-boy adjured it to come forth. I felt at the time 
that his language was a thing that could never be forgotten 
and ought never to be quoted. When, however, Wadi Hamis 
finished his protest I did quote a little of it. 1 was ill with 
fever at the time, and that is my only excuse for the outburst 
and the confusion of the names of some Eastern deities with 
those of the gods of that western cowboy. But when at dawn 
next morning, in answer to my inquiry if the porters were 
ready, Ramathan's soft voice replied, " Dio, Bwani : yote tiari " 
(Yes, Master, we are all ready), I felt thankful that that language 
had not been as wasted upon my porters, as it had been upon 
the demon who disturbs that boiling Wyoming spring. 

It is unnecessary to follow in detail the excursion to the 
west, and I am glad to hasten through with the rest of the 
dreary, anxious period of my stay at Njemps. As I was foiled 
in my endeavour to return to the lake, that I might collect 
representatives of its fish-fauna, and to visit its islands, and as 
I only again saw it in the distance, a few notes on the geography 
of Baringo may be here inserted. 

Lake Baringo ^ is the best known of the members of the 
lake-chain which I was able to visit. Its existence was first 
made known to Europeans by the reports of native traders. 
The old estimates of its size were greatly exaggerated, prob- 
ably as it was confused with Basso Narok. It became at once 
a bone of contention among geographers. Thus Livingstone, 
in accordance with his axiom that all fresh - water lakes 
must have an outlet, which led him into his most serious 
geographical blunders, connected it with the Nyanza. Burton 
welcomed Baringo as another argument in favour of the dis- 
memberment of Speke's Nyanza into a lacustrine heptarchy. 
Others, of course, claimed it as the source of the Nile. The 
first European to reach the lake was Joseph Thomson in 1883, 
and he showed that its size had been greatly exaggerated, and 
that it had no connection with cither the Nyanza or the Nile. 
The maps of the lake were, however, erroneous in many respects, 
and the circumambulation of it enabled me to correct these, 

^ See inset map, on Map II. 


and to determine the character of the basin. (The topography 
of the lake is described in the Geographical Journal, vol. iv. 
1894, pp. 31 1-3 I 3.) 

Baringo and Njemps both lie on the floor of the Rift 
Valley, the walls of which closely resemble in their structure 
those of the region around Naivasha. Here, however, there 
were no Masai to hinder exploration, so I could hope to work 
out the geological structure of the country more conveniently 
and thoroughly. The study of the eastern wall I intended to 
postpone until the return march, and I was determined to 
make the most of the present opportunity of studying the 
western plateau, in order to obtain materials for a geological 
section right across the valley. The eastern wall is in places 
a single face of rock, over 2000 feet in height, the foot of 
which is 7 miles from Njemps. The western wall, formed 
here by the great fault-scarp of Kamasia, is 14 miles from the 
village, and a series of foot-hills intervenes between the two. 
From the descriptions of Thomson, I expected to find that 
while these foot-hills were composed of volcanic rocks, the 
plateau was a great island of the old rocks (gneisses) rising up 
through the lavas and forming the backbone of the Kamasian 

We left our camp at Njemps on the 28th May and crossed 
the plain towards the base of the foot-hills. Our progress, 
however, was soon stopped by a messenger who recalled me to 
the village ; there I was detained till it was too late to do 
more than reach and cross the river Tigirish, before approaching 
nightfall arrested us. We had no guide, as, probably owing to 
the instigation of the Arabs, none of the natives would go with 
us. One of my men said he knew the way by which Omari 
had gone, and I trusted him to guide us ; he misled us, no 
doubt wilfully. We got into very bad country, a district inter- 
sected by deep ravines. We had to cut our way through dense 
acacia scrub from one ridge to another. We trudged for 
miles over sandy river-beds, through gorges so sinuous that no 
breeze could work its way along them to refresh us, and with 
walls as bare and black as if designed expressly for a sun-trap. 
The men were frightened ; alarm begot anger, and they dawdled 
as much as they dared. Illness made me irritable, and irrita- 
bility made me energetic ; so at last I threatened to flog them, 


one and all, for I was determined not to have a repetition 
of their behaviour on Baringo. The geology, moreover, was 
very tantalising. It was only too interesting, but it was com- 
plex, and the conditions of the country were not favourable 
to a hasty unravelling of its story. There were clearly two 
series of lavas of very different ages, but they were so much 
displaced and mixed up by faults that I could not make out 
their relations one to another. Occasionally a gully would 
promise an instructive section, but when a way had been 
laboriously cut through to it, the sides were found to be hidden 
under a wash of the " talus " of disintegrated rock, or were 
obscured by a dense growth of scrub, or else a vertical face of 
rock barred approach to the desired spot. At last I gave up 
the attempt to settle the relations of the two sets of lavas by 
mapping them, and so plodded through sandy gorges, or forced 
a way through ravines choked with a dense growth of jungle, 
until I found a series of old lake deposits, buried beneath the 
later set of lavas. The upper part of the lake deposits had 
been baked by the lavas into an intensely hard and exquisitely 
white porcelain ; but below they contained some beds of 
gravels, all the pebbles of which must have been derived 
from the older set of lavas. This gave me the clue I 
wanted, so I weighted the men's loads with a fair assortment 
of the pebbles, and then went merrily on. We marched 
for a couple of days westward over the rest of the foot-hills, 
until we entered the inhabited region at the foot of the main 
plateau of Kamasia. The natives were in great force, and very 
suspicious of our objects. I did not, therefore, think it safe to 
take the men farther, though I was resolved to go on myself. 
So I posted the men and baggage among some rocks, in a 
position which five men with guns could hold against an army 
of timid spearsmen, and then started, with the Askari and one 
porter, to attempt the ascent of Doenyo Lubikwe. This 
mountain rises above the plateau of Kamasia as a fine conical 
peak on the end of a well-rounded ridge ; its bold outline 
towered above the long flat edge of the plateau, and lured me 
upward with a fascination that I could not resist. We nearly 
reached the top, but alas ! the start had been made too late in 
the day, and we had the annoyance of having to return, when 
the summit was well within our reach. We dared not delay, 


for the red-painted natives, who were watching us in crowds at 
a respectful distance, were timid and suspicious. Had we been 
caught away from camp after nightfall we should probably have 
seen more of them than we cared about. The sound custom of 
not walking abroad at night and my hope of a second attempt 
next day had to yield to more pressing needs, for bad news 
awaited me on my return to camp. There I learnt that the 
quarrel regarding which Sokoni had warned me, had led to an 
outbreak of hostilities between the Wa-njemps and the Wa- 
kamasia. A party of the latter was said to be already on 
the march to Njemps, and to have cut off communications 
with Omari. My reserve supply of goods and ammunition were 
in the threatened village, and an immediate return was necessary 
to save them. It had taken us three days to reach our present 
position, but I resolved, in spite of the men's protests, to do the 
return in one. I had my dinner and we took down the tent ; 
we stacked up the fires in such a way that they would keep 
alight all night, and thus prevent the natives having any 
suspicion of our flight ; then, an hour before the moon rose, I 
crept stealthily out of camp to reconnoitre. I could not detect 
any natives, so I went back for the others and led them out 
along the ridge at some distance from the path, and then we 
stole quietly through some fields out on to the uninhabited 
region of the foot-hills. At first we all kept together, for there 
were only seven of us, and we had to be very careful ; but when 
we had left the danger from the villages far behind us, and had 
only to fear that ahead at Njemps, I took my rifle from the 
Askari, wished the men " Kwaheri " (Good-bye), and hurried on. 
Dawn found me alone on a basalt platform near the eastern 
margin of the foot-hills ; I rested on the edge till it was light 
enough to take my bearings, and to decide on the easiest way 
down to the floor of the Rift Valley. The sky was absolutely 
cloudless, and in that dry, cold air the sun rose over Laikipia 
with a sudden blaze of light, that flashed upon the cliffs of 
Kamasia with the glare of a search-light. In two or three 
minutes its rays had reached the foot-hills, and only the Rift 
Valley lay black and dark before me. Then ridge after ridge 
within it suddenly sprang into sight, till the sunlight caught 
the tracts of sand upon the floor of the valley, and " thrilled 
her black length burnt to gold." 



A few hours later I was in Njemps, listening to the head 
Askari's tale of troubles in Elgeyo, and trying to calm the 
complaints of the ten porters who had come back with him, 
and who for two days had not had a morsel of food. There 
was nothing for it but to make an effort to appease their 
hunger. I gave one of them my rifle and gun to carry, crossed 
the Nyuki, waded for nearly an hour through the swamps, and 
scoured the plain beyond in search of game. The bones of 
buffaloes lay rotting on the ground, but the work of the plague ^ 
had been only too complete ; there was not a beast to be seen, 
and I returned to the camp with only a few brace of guinea- 
fowl and some wild duck. This was better than nothing, but it 
soon disappeared before twenty-five hungry men. So I turned 
into bed, after fixing up a stick and telling the men to wake 
me when the Southern Cross came in the line of sight with it. 
Alas ! when the sentry called me I was too weak to stand. For 
the flesh diet and the malaria of the swamps, possibly aided 
by overworry and overwork, had brought back my old foe — 
malarial dysentery. 

On the following day I was better. I went off to shoot, but 
soon broke down and had to be carried back to camp. Fortun- 
ately one of the traders, the Beluchi named Jumma, was a good 
shot and a keen sportsman, and he offered to make good use 
of half a dozen cartridges. He kept his word, and soon sent 
back for men to carry in a " Swara mdogo," as the Suahili call 
the bush-buck {TragelapJius sp.) Later on he got a zebra, but 
this was shot so far from camp that the porters sent for the 
meat could not reach the place until dark. This involved the 
loss of the food, for the porter who had been left on guard 
would not stay out alone after sunset ; the men could not find 
the place, but the lions did, and during the night they devoured 
the carcase. Next day I was better, and went off in one 
direction, while the Beluchi started in another. We bagged a 
couple of zebra, and on the way back, by a most fluky shot, 
I bowled over a fine female water-buck {Kobus ellipsypryvinus). 
Next day we were still more fortunate, for though game was 
really scarce we killed two zebra and three mpalla {Aipyceros 
melampus). In the afternoon we tracked a lion to its lair ; but 
after an interesting stalk through dense scrub he bolted, just as 

^ See p. 266. 


we thought he was going to charge, and we lost him. In spite 
of its having been unsuccessful, this lion hunt was the most 
pleasant incident in the dreary stay at Njemps. I am not an 
enthusiastic sportsman under the most comfortable of circum- 
stances. As this shooting involved starting at three in the 
morning, stumbling for nearly two hours in a swamp, and then 
waiting wet and shivering till, with the first streak of daylight, 
the zebras came down to drink, I thought it very poor fun. 
Moreover, when the first bullet was not fatal, as was generally 
the case, a furious obstacle race was necessary, across rough 
country and through thorn scrub, till a second could be placed 
with better effect. As most of this work came at a time when 
I ought to have been snugly tucked up in bed, and fed on hourly 
doses of arrowroot or rice gruel, such violent exercise was 
especially objectionable. A friend once asked if I were not 
sorry for the zebra, but on these occasions I was far too sorry for 
myself to have any sympathy to spare for anything else. Once or 
twice I sent out some of the porters, who could be trusted not 
to sell their cartridges to the traders. But the Zanzibari had 
even less of the spirit of Nimrod in them than I had ; they 
wasted some precious ammunition, and probably spent the day 
asleep under a bush. They thought that as I had led them out 
into the desert, away from the fleshpots of Mombasa, it was my 
duty to feed them. There was so much reason in this, that, 
in spite of the discomfort and loss of time, I went on with the 

The days thus dragged wearily on, and there was still 
no news of Omari. The threatened war was confined to a 
few attempts at sheep-raiding in Kamasia, by small parties of 
the Njempsians. The active hill-tribes, however, were too 
much for the starved natives of the valley, and succeeded in 
massacring every party sent against them. My own efforts at 
zoological collecting were almost as unsuccessful as those of 
my friends ; for after my return to camp from shooting, I was 
always too tired to attempt any work. I had a shed built 
beside the river, and used to lie in it, watching for a crocodile 
to show its head upon the surface, when I at once planted a 
Martini bullet in it. After a few days, however, this amusement 
was played out ; but we could cross the ford in the morning, 
feeling more at our ease. 


The one stroke of good luck that befell us at Njemps was 
enlisting a man who had just crossed Laikipia, and consequently 
knew the position of the Masai kraals. I had announced the 
offer of a reward to any one who would bring me a guide. 
For so long there was no answer to the advertisement, that I 
began to fear I should have to be my own guide. This was 
not a very cheerful prospect. One evening, however, a native of 
Njemps Mkubwa came in to say that an Mkwafi of Laikipia 
had just arrived in that town, and that he should be brought 
to me on the morrow. The Njempsian told me that the man 
was the sole survivor from a kraal of Wakwafi, the members of 
which had been massacred by the Masai. 

Shortly after my return from shooting next day, the pro- 
posed guide was brought into camp. My first feeling when I 
saw him was one of bitter disappointment. I had been told he 
knew the district extremely well, and that it was only owing to 
his familiarity with the game tracks that he had succeeded in 
finding his way to Njemps. But he looked absolutely useless ; 
I thought he was dying. He was comparatively a young man, 
certainly not past middle age, but his hair was gray. He was 
terribly emaciated and seemed to consist of nothing but a mere 
bag of skin hung over a framework of rather massive bones. 
When erect he stood six feet four inches high, but he was then 
bent forward, leaning on a staff. His mouth was open, and 
his huge bloodshot eyes were fixed on the body of an mpalla 
that had just been carried into camp. The man who brought 
him and I both spoke to him, but he did not heed us. I took 
hold of his wrist, apparently without his being conscious of it. 
The feeble spasmodic pulse confirmed the suspicion that he 
was in the last stage of starvation. He told me afterwards 
that since his escape from Ndoro nine days before, he had eaten 
nothing but leaves and a few berries. We gave him a seat 
upon a box, and as solid meat would have killed him, we fed 
him at short intervals with small doses of beef-tea. In the 
afternoon he looked better and fell asleep. Next day we told 
him that we wanted him to guide us over Settima to Ndoro. 
I offered to feed him on the way, give him as much food as he 
could carry for the return journey, and pay him well. He said 
that he coidd not go with us, that the Masai would kill him, 
and that he would rather die than go on to Laikipia again. 


I promised him full protection, and to let him return as soon 
as we saw Doenyo Egeri (Mt, Kenya), and he could point out 
to us the position of Ndoro. He refused to go, so I had sternly 
to tell him that he had better return to Njemps Mkubwa. He 
begged for food ; but I could only say that I had not enough 
for my own men and had none to spare for him. With that 
the shauri ended, and I went back to my tent knowing that the 
pangs of hunger would be a more powerful argument than 
anything I could say. Every now and then during the day 
the man's piteous cry of " Nyama, nyama " (Meat, meat) rang 
through the camp. He persisted in his refusal, however, till 
the evening. Then, when the porters cooked their food, the 
savoury odour of the roasted antelope meat was too much for 
him ; he decided that the risk of death by a Masai spear was 
less awful than the certainty of slow starvation. Terms were 
easily settled. Ijwas to feed him, give him a supply of food for 
the return journey, and leave ten rings of iron and brass rod with 
the chief of Njemps as his payment. I offered to take him 
back to Mombasa and pension him, but this he declined. He 
signed articles by surrendering his bow and arrows, and then we 
gave the poor fellow his food. He seized it like a ravenous 
hyena, and nearly choked himself with it. We had to tear it 
from him by main force, cut it up, and give it him in pieces. 
For days afterwards the taste of food always drove him mad ; 
at his meals one man had to hold him down, while another cut 
up his meat and fed him like a child. Mwini Mharo, the head 
Askari, was the most attentive to him. We were a stony-hearted 
crew, but there was not one of us who was not touched by the 
sight of the merry Mwini patiently soothing that wild, gaunt 
idiot as he doled him out his food. In a few days he grew stronger 
and became calmer ; then he used to sleep all day and stand all 
night in the smoke of a fire beside my tent singing a doleful dirge, 
and waving about a flap of leather to drive away the mosquitoes. 
If he thus disturbed the mosquitoes as much as he did me, from 
his point of view this performance was a success. 

Our relations with the coast-traders were of a very different 
character from those with the guide. Omari at length returned, 
but only brought 500 lbs. of food, which, with my store of 
zebra meat, would last us only ten days. The Arab guide 
had played us false. He had gone up under our protection, 



bought for himself as much food as he could carry, and spread 
abroad the news that Omari was buying for a European. Only 
once before had a " Mzungu " or " white man " visited that 
district, and the report that it was about to be honoured by the 
visit of a second sent the natives into hiding in the hills. The 
Arab guide well knew what a legacy of Mzunguphobia Dr. 
Karl Peters had left behind him for his successors. In con- 
sequence Omari could buy very little food, and we had to pay 
by days on half rations for Dr. Peters' misdeeds. 

My position was now rather an awkward one. Owing to 
the unhealthiness of Njemps my time there was being worse 
than wasted, but I had not food enough to plunge with safety 
on to the great foodless plateau of Laikipia. I was very 
anxious, however, to get away from Njemps, for local politics 
there were getting mixed. The coast -traders, the starving 
Wa-njemps, and the hill-tribes of Kamasia were all at logger- 
heads, and agreed only in their suspicions of me. I did not 
want to get involved in their squabbles, and so I resolved to 
move elsewhere. 

Four courses were possible. The easiest was to return 
along the Rift Valley back to Fort Smith ; but a known road 
had no attractions for me. A more attractive scheme was that 
which had been urged on me by Major Smith and Captain 
Williams, viz. to strike west to Uganda, and, replenishing my 
stock of trade goods there, to march on to Ruwenzori. This 
mountain range had, however, recently been visited by Emin 
and Stuhlmann, and it did not seem to me worth going there 
without knowing what they had done. A third possible course 
was to go north to Basso Narok. Sokoni, the chief guide at 
Njemps, described to me the great fish which occur in that lake, 
and this tempted me to try to visit it. I had been within 
ninety miles of its southern end, and I had thought of trying to 
make a dash across the deserts to it, with a party of my six 
best walkers. But with such a scarcity of food, and such an 
uncertain basis of operations as Njemps, the risks were too 
great. The last plan was to cross Laikipia to Kenya. The 
objections to this were twofold : there was the possibility that 
Mr. Astor Chanler and Lieut, von Hohnel had already worked 
out the structure of that mountain ; there was the certainty of 
trouble with the Masai if I met them. But against these there 


was the argument that this was my original plan. I had started 
intending to go to Kenya, and so to Kenya I resolved to go. 

I told the Arabs that I was going, and explained to Azizi 
that, as I could not return the food, I must pay him for it by 
" chit " (or cheque) in Mombasa. He then refused to accept 
that method of payment, though when he had lent me the 
food he had himself suggested it. He now demanded all my 
" kiketi," a kind of large blue bead, and cowries, and a cheque 
for 300 rupees to be paid in Mombasa. The ordinary price 
for food at Njemps is one pice per kibaba ; he wanted more 
than ninety pice for each measure, besides sufficient trade goods 
to buy the food five times over. After a stormy conference 
that lasted for four hours I consented to give him all the cow- 
ries and half the kiketi, and to pay his agent in Mombasa 160 
rupees. Even this was a frightful swindle, but I was too 
fagged to fight the matter further. 

At daybreak next morning (5th June) the camp was 
roused by the shouts of " Safari ! Safari leo ! Funga ! Fannya 
tiari ! " (A journey ! A journey to-day ! Tie up the loads ! Make 
ready ! ) We were delayed for some time by the difficulty of 
catching the donkeys, which had run wild, and had to be broken 
in again. The natives would not help us, for they were holding 
a great war shauri, to decide whether they should make an 
attack in force upon the people of Kamasia. 

We marched round the north wall of the town, and then east- 
ward across the plain. We were soon stopped by the swamp of 
the Nyuki. When the guide saw it he said we could not cross 
it, and sat on the ground, folded his arms, shut his eyes, and 
refused to move. Fundi and I tried to get through but failed, 
and I feared the guide was right. When Omari came up he 
simply set his teeth and said, " Bwana, we must go through." 
Thanks entirely to his pluck and resolution, we did get 

Beyond this swamp there was no water for a long distance, 
so we had to camp beside it. I spent the afternoon drying a 
load of plants that had been dipped into the swamp during the 
passage. This and two other incidents that happened at this 
camp considerably lessened the pleasure of the departure from 

One of the flour sacks was cut open during the night, and 


some of the contents stolen. Our supplies were so limited 
that this was a serious offence against the whole caravan. We 
could not, however, detect the thief, though the sentry who 
was on »guard at the time was accused by the men. He was 
of course responsible ; but I hoped that he had committed the 
minor offence of being asleep on guard, and that the only 
reason why he was suspected was that he had served for several 
years in the Zanzibar police. Later on, however, he was de- 
graded to the ranks for another act of theft, so probably the 
men's suspicions were not unjust. 

Anxiety about the success of our march across Laikipia 
was increased by the behaviour of the guide. That I could 
find my way across without a guide, provided I had plenty of 
time, I never doubted ; but with our limited supply of food 
delays might be fatal, and the usual rules of mountaineering 
were no help in finding one's way up such cliffs as those before 
us. Just before sunset I walked up to a terrace beside the 
camp, in order to sketch the scarp face of Laikipia. The 
guide came up. I pointed out to him a gap in the skyline, 
and asked by a sign whether that was the pass by which we 
were to ascend on to the plateau. He looked steadily at it 
for a few minutes ; a cold shudder shook his whole frame, an 
expression of anguish came over his face, and without answer- 
ing my inquiry he strolled slowly down the slope to camp. 
His look was one never to be forgotten. It told of a heart- 
broken submission to a cruel fate, like that of a dying antelope 
when it has realised the hopelessness of escape and the use- 
lessness of further struggle. Whether his agony was due to 
some recollection of the past, or to a dread of the cruel fate 
which did befall him, I could not tell. But it indicated such 
disinclination to face again the perils of Laikipia that, in spite 
of our sympathy with the guide, he spent that night tied to my 
tent pole. 



" O'er the wide sierras and the high plateaux." 

Walt Whitman. 

Laikipia is a plateau formed of volcanic rocks, situated to the 
east of the part of the Rift Valley between Lake Naivasha 
and the steppes of Sukut. Most of the plateau lies at an 
elevation of between 6000 and 7000 feet, and consists of rolling 
prairie. Its area is almost that of Wales. Bounded to the 
south by the forests of the Kikuyu country, it extends north- 
ward between the volcanic piles of Kenya and Settima, and 
the ridges of Doenyo lol Daika and Subugu, until it is cut off 
by the westward trend of the Loroghi Mountains and the east- 
ward bend of the Rift Valley. 

Considering the proximity of the country to the road to 
Uganda, it is surprising how little Laikipia has been explored. 
The enterprising Arab traders long ago found their way across 
it, along two routes. One of these started at the north-eastern 
end of the country of the Kikuyu, skirted the western foot of 
Kenya, traversed Ndoro and the open steppes to the edge of 
the Rift Valley above Baringo. The second route left the Rift 
Valley to the north of Naivasha, and thence continued along 
the eastern flanks of the wooded range of Subugu, enabling the 
traders to reach Basso Narok (Lake Rudolf) without crossing 
the country of the hostile Wasuk. These two routes were 
recorded in 1874 in the valuable paper by Denhardt, referred 
to in the first chapter. No further information about Laikipia 
was obtained until Joseph Thomson made his courageous and 
determined effort to cross it, to reach Kenya in 1883. His 


expedition had been fitted out by the Royal Geographical 
Society, and one of its main purposes was the exploration of 
Mount Kenya. Thomson entered Laikipia by the second of 
the above routes, and, working his way round the northern 
flanks of the mountain mass known as Settima, struck eastward 
toward Kenya. He soon, however, got into trouble with the 
Masai, who were present in force. Their attitude was so 
threatening that Thomson could not cross the Nyiro. He had 
to abandon his camp under cover of night and escape north 
toward Njemps, which he reached after a series of adventures, 
which are well described in his fascinating work Through Masai 
Land. Four years later Count Teleki, with his accomplished 
assistant Lieut. Ludwig von Hohnel, marched across Laikipia 
along the main Suahili trade route, along which they were 
guided by the great Suahili trader. Jumbo Kinameta. The 
Masai were then not very numerous, and Teleki's force was so 
powerful that it suffered no interference from the natives. Von 
Hohnel mapped the line of march with his usual skill, and 
made two branch excursions to the east, to track the course of 
the Guaso Narok and Guaso Nyiro, the two main rivers that 
drain the plateau. 

Laikipia was crossed a third time in the winter of 1889- 
90 by the German Emin Pasha Relief Expedition under 
command of Dr. Karl Peters. The Masai, ignorant of the 
power of field-guns and repeating rifles in the hands of trained 
Somali soldiers, were aggressive. Dr. Peters' attitude was not 
conciliatory, and his caravan was accordingly attacked by 
hordes of infuriated El-Moran. Dr. Peters' victory was com- 
plete ; he burnt most of the leading kraals, and captured great 
herds of cattle, which had no doubt been originally pillaged 
from other tribes. Some other attempts have been made to 
cross Laikipia, but without success. 

With von Hohnel's map to guide us, it would have been 
comparatively easy to follow the Suahili trade route ; but I 
resolved to leave it, and cross the plateau along a new line, 
partly for the sake of the exploration, and partly in the hope 
of avoiding the Masai. After the treatment they had received 
from Peters, it was certain that they would be thirsting for 
revenge, and that if we met them we should have to fight. The 
route I proposed to attempt was not only new, thus offering 


more chance of interesting geographical work, but it avoided 
most of the open steppes, on which concealment was impossible 
and defence difficult. The scarcity of food greatly increased 
the risks of the march, for nothing rouses the suspicions of 
Africans more than insistence on an immediate reply to a request 
for permission to enter their country. And we had no time to 
waste on the road in " shauri " with the natives, for our supply 
of food could not last until we reached the Kikuyu plantations. 

The men understood the difficulties as well as I did, probably 
much better. But by this time they had also learnt that they 
had to do as they were told. Most of the older men, more- 
over, were pleased at the prospect of seeing new country : I 
had chatted with them round their camp fires in the evening 
about the great mountain, whose face was speckled with white ; 
about the rivers and supposed lakes that formed the sources of 
the Tana. Fundi, moreover, had related exciting stories about 
the wonders of Kenya and the glories of the country at its foot, 
with its abundant firewood, pure mountain streams, vast herds 
of game, and freedom from mosquitoes. Omari had told the 
men it was their duty to go wherever I wanted, and so long 
as I did not fear to .lead, they must not fear to follow. So 
between us we had roused general interest in the unknown land 
into which we were about to venture. As soon, therefore, 
on the morning of the 6th of June, as I gave the order to 
" Taenda," adding " Harako leo ! maji mbali ! " (We must 
hasten to-day ! water is far off !), the men took up their loads 
and marched briskly across the plain to the foot of the for- 
bidding cliffs of Laikipia. 

We soon rose above the valley of the " Paragara " (as our 
guide called the tributary of the Nyuki by which we had 
camped), and then crossed the opening of a bay of alluvium 
which ran from the plain into the hills. We forded the Ngusa- 
gari, a small stream that drained this bay, and reached the 
foot of the cliffs, at the mouth of a narrow gorge half choked 
with vegetation. We pushed through this, walked along the 
bed of a dry stream over dark rounded surfaces of " andesite," 
and climbed over fallen boulders of black basalt. We had to 
scale a steep cliff on the north side of the river bed, hauling up 
the donkeys with ropes. We followed one valley to the north- 
north-east, and crossed a gap to another, and went along it to 


the south-south-west, until we came opposite to the " domo," 
or pass, which we had seen from the plains. A steep zigzag 
game track led towards it, and during the ascent of this we 
enjoyed a series of magnificent panoramic views of the Rift 
Valley and Lake Baringo. 

We crossed the summit of the pass and descended to the 
springs of " Njoro Larabwal." Here we intended to rest for 
a couple of hours and. then resume our march to the southern 
end of the basin. But a message came from Omari that the 
porter Jumbe had fallen ill and could not walk. I returned 
with a hammock, some medicine, and eight porters to fetch 
him. Carrying the invalid up the steep slope proved a difficult 
task, and when we reached camp it was too late to go farther. 

Next day we crossed the basin of Larabwal, and had again 
to make a shorter march than we had intended. The guide 
was seized with one of his crazy fits, and nothing we could 
do would allay his frenzy, or rouse him from his subsequent 
sullen stupor. The great cliff of Doenyo lol Mwaru rose high 
above us, and to be caught at night upon its face involved 
dangers too serious to be lightly risked. We therefore camped 
beside the river, the Guaso el Narua, and nursed the poor 
Mkwafi till the morning. Some fish we caught in the stream 
consoled me for the delay. 

We struck camp at daybreak, crossed a tributary to the 
river, and reached the foot of a wall of rock that seemed to 
bar further progress. The guide led us round the base of a 
spur, to a game track, which mounted by a very sinuous course 
up the face of the cliff. Numerous halts were necessary, but 
they were doubly useful ; the ascent was very toilsome, and 
rests were welcome. The whole region of the foot-hills, the 
basins of Larabwal and Lake Baringo, lay spread out before us 
with the diagrammatic clearness of a map. After an ascent of 
1400 feet the track became horizontal, and ran south along 
the face of the cliff to a gap at its southern end. We expected 
that this cliff was the face of the main Laikipia plateau, and 
that after we had gained its summit our course would be level. 
We found, however, that a deep ravine lay between us and the 
steppes beyond. At first it looked as if we should have to 
descend into this gorge, but the guide led us to a narrow ridge 
at its head, by which we easily crossed to the plateau. 


The day's march had been very fatiguing, though it had 
only taken us about four miles onward. We hoped on the 
morrow to make up for this slow progress, for we were 
apparently on the western edge of a level plain, on which were 
occasional lines and patches of forest. We were again doomed 
to disappointment. A series of hidden ravines cut across the 
plain, and each of these had to be crossed. The largest, 
Longeyu lol Mwaru, was 350 feet deep, and its steep 
banks were so densely clad with vegetation that some path- 
cutting was required, and finally we had to camp on some 
open grass lands only five miles from our previous resting- 
place. There was nothing with which to make a " boma," but 
as there were no signs of inhabitants we did not trouble about 
this, and simply picketed the donkeys to stakes beside my 
tent door. The night was cloudless and moonless, and soon 
became intensely cold. The highest shade temperature observed 
during the day was 82", but by eight o'clock the thermometer 
had fallen to 39° F., and the men crept into their tents or 
crouched beside the fires. When I went round camp at 
midnight, I noticed that the donkeys seemed restive and on the 
alert. A few minutes later one of them kicked against the 
tent ropes, so I went out to try to calm them. I stroked them 
and chatted to them for a minute or two, and as they seemed 
quieter, I told the sentry to look after them, and resumed my 
seat in the tent. Before I had finished arranging my blanket, 
the donkeys, with a wild snort, burst their bonds and fled, 
while a cry of " Mashimba " (Lions) rang through the camp. 
In spite of our circle of fires, two lions had rushed the donkeys. 
The camp was in an uproar in an instant. " If there are 
many, they will charge us," shouted Omari, and the men took 
up their stations, with guns ready, as if we had expected Masai. 
The lions, however, followed the donkeys ; we heard a struggle 
a few yards away, and so, seizing brands from the fires, went 
to the rescue. We were just in time to see a lion sneak off 
from the body of a donkey it had killed, and send a shot after 
it. At the same moment we heard renewed excitement from 
the camp, with Omari's voice shouting orders to the men. 
We ran back, and found that one of the donkeys had escaped 
and returned to camp. It was trembling in every limb ; we 
hobbled it securely and placed it in my tent for protection, 


and then waited for the lions to return to the body of the 
donkey they had killed. They followed the third, however, 
and as they did not catch it till it had run some distance from 
camp, they devoured it at leisure. 

As a result of this disaster, we had to rearrange loads. It 
was not fair to add to the men's burdens, for we had many 
double marches ahead of us ; so the skulls and many of the 
skins of the zebra and antelope shot at Njemps had to be 
left behind. 

We marched to the southern end of the plain of Alng'aria, 
and then turned eastward to traverse the parallel ridges of 
Subugu (the Marmanett Mountains of von Hohnel). The 
highest pass proved to be at the level of 6950 feet, and from 
this we began the descent towards the undulating steppes of 
the typical portion of Laikipia. 

Shortly afterwards the guide suddenly stopped, and point- 
ing ahead said, " People ! " He could not say whether they 
were Masai or Wanderobbo, so I went forward with him to 
scout, leaving the caravan to follow slowly. An hour later we 
came to the edge of the woods, and I could see in the far 
distance several columns of smoke. These, the guide said, were 
at Lari lol Morjo. I could see no other signs of natives, so we 
marched on to the plains and camped, waiting, however, till 
after dark before we lighted fires. 

Next morning we enjoyed our first view of Kenya, which 
the porters called Meru. We saw it a few minutes before 
sunrise, just as we were preparing to start. It was eighty 
miles away from us, but it stood out sharp and clear on the 
eastern skyline. There was a look of fascinating mystery 
about it, as its dark jagged outline suddenly appeared above 
the dull gray mist. There was no time, however, for senti- 
mental reflections or aesthetic rapture. I hastily traced its 
outline, and read the bearing of the central peak through my 
prismatic compass. Before I could repeat the observations, the 
mountain had disappeared in a gray expanse of mist. 

The view cheered us all immensely. Some hills we had 
seen the day before had' shown the men that we were now 
only level with Lake Kibibi, and had thus made very slow 
progress. Our food supply was running low, and we feared 
that we could place but little reliance on our crazy guide. 


Now, however, we knew the position of Kenya, and if the 
guide failed us, we could brave the Masai, and march straight 
across the plains to the Kikuyu plantations on the southern 
slopes of the mountain. 

During the day we passed close by some extensive prairie 
fires, which must have been lighted by natives, though we 
saw none. The guide led us between two of the largest of 
the fires, and we were all half choked by smoke. We reached 
the Guaso Narok fairly early, and forded it at a place where it was 
20 yards wide and 2 feet deep. As our guide said we should 
come to some Masai kraals next day, he and I spent the rest of 
the day in finding a route that would avoid them. On return- 
ing to camp in the evening, I heard that the porter Jumbe was 
missing. We searched for him as thoroughly as possible, but 
without success. We could not delay, to continue the hunt in 
the morning, and had to abandon him to his fate. It was the 
man's own fault and due to disobedience, though he could not 
be blamed for this, as he had been in a condition of imbecility 
ever since a sunstroke on the shores of Lake Losuguta. The 
night had been intensely cold, and the exposure probably 
killed him. If not, it is to be hoped that the man soon met 
with either lions or Wanderobbo, for the physical pain of 
death from either would be merciful, in comparison with the 
mental agony of wandering lost in the wilderness, and dying 
slowly of starvation. 

At this point I became much troubled about our route. 
According to the two maps of this district, if we followed the 
course of the Guaso Narok we should enter a broad valley 
between a range of mountains to our left, and two great peaks, 
Goyito and Kinangop, each 14,000 feet high, to our right. 
The topography, as represented by the maps, had led me to 
expect that a nucleus of old Archean rocks would occur in this 
mountain group ; and I hoped to find on the flanks of these 
rocks some, intermediate in age, between them and the volcanic 
series. I therefore resolved to continue along the valley of the 
" Ururi " (the Upper Guaso Narok) until opposite the pass 
between the two western peaks, and then turn eastward across 
the Aberdare Mountains of Thomson, or Settima Kette (or 
Chain) of von Hohnel. This route seemed an easy one to 
find, and the only part of it that might have been expected to 


offer difficulties was the traverse of the " Settima Kette." But 
a track across this was marked by Mr. Ravenstein on the 
evidence of Denhardt's report of a journey by Ferhaji of Pan- 
gani. If a SuahiH trader could cross, so could I. 

As soon, however, as I tried to determine my position and 
the course of the next march, I was bewildered by being unable 
to find any one of my three guiding points. The Guaso Narok 
appeared to end off abruptly, and there was no trace of a 
double range of mountains to the south ; all I could see there 
was one great and extremely eroded volcanic dome. Of the 
valley, five miles broad, which I proposed to enter, I could see 
no sign, and no help could be got from the guide. I asked 
him the name of the mountains to the south, and he said there 
was only one, Settima, the position of which he correctly 
indicated, though it was then hidden by the clouds. I next 
told him to point in the direction of Mount Goyito ; he thought 
for a moment, and then said he could not. I inquired why, 
and he scornfully replied that there was no such mountain. 
Then I asked for Mount Kinangop ; but the guide looked still 
more scornful, and told me I knew nothing about it, for Kinan- 
gop was a " gopo," or grazing plain, and not a " doenyo " or 
mountain. Finally, I told him to guide us along the Guaso 
Narok as far as it went ; he declared that we had already 
passed its source, and it went no farther. On my saying that 
it must do so, for it was marked on the map as going for nearly 
two days farther, the guide flew into a violent rage. He told 
me I was a fool, for he had been there, and I had not ; that I 
knew nothing at all about it, and was worse than the idiot 
Jumbe, for I preferred to believe a sheet of paper which 
had never been in the district, rather than a man who had 
lived there all his life. As soon as his rage abated, he sat 
on the ground and demanded tobacco. Unfortunately, as 
I do not smoke, I had none, and was accordingly denounced 
as a hard-hearted brute. As he wanted it to chew, it would 
have been useless to make him some out of brown paper and 
tea-leaves, a substitute which might otherwise have served. So 
there was nothing for it but to leave the guide to recover from 
his sulks, while I went on with the Askari, Mwini, to recon- 
noitre. We soon reached the depression in the main Laikipia 
scarp by which Thomson had reached the plateau. We went 



far enough to make sure there were no mountains between 
us and the Rift Valley, and that the main mountain mass lay 
to the south-east. A terraced grass slope led southward to 
the grazing lands of Kinangop, above Naivasha. We saw the 
smoke of some kraals in the distance, and as the guide had 




Von Hbhnel. 


U ^ Nijuri R. 


G&K Nyuri R. 


Von Hohnel. 



Fig. 3. — Diagrammatic Comparison of Maps of Settima by Thomson, von Hohnel, and 
the Author. A, Aberdare Mountains ; G, Goyito ; K, Kinangop ; N, Guaso 
Narok ; Nv, Naivasha ; Ny, Nyuri ; S, Settima ; Sb, Subugu ; U, Ururi. 

told us there were many Masai in this district when he 
passed through a fortnight before, we returned to the caravan. 
In the evening the guide came to me and said he wanted to 
make friends. He plucked some grass, spat on it, and 
sprinkled it on my head. I returned the compliment, and 
then he told me that in the afternoon I had been to Rangatan 


Busi, and that next day we should camp at Rangatan Ndari. 
I was deHghted to hear these names, as they are two of the few 
in this district, marked on Ravenstein's map. 

The next two marches were among the most interesting 
in the expedition. They cleared up the perplexities as to our 
position, threw much light on both the geographical and geo- 
logical structure of the country, and yielded some interesting 
additions to the collections, including a couple of black crabs, 
identified by Prof. Jeffrey Bell as TJielphusa berardi, and a cobra, 
determined by Dr. Gunther as Naja nigricollis, Rnhdt. The 
marching in this district was easy, and the scenery grand, as 
immediately to the west of us rose the broken eastern slopes of 
Settima. Another source of interest was meeting some of the 
natives, called Wanderobbo by the Suahili, by which we obtained 
information about them (pp. 328-332), which seems to show 
that some of the people included under this term are really 
allied to the dwarfs. We arranged, moreover, for some of them 
to go with us to the Kikuyu country, whereby we became inde- 
pendent of our guide. 

Shortly after this, in chasing a rhinoceros, I met with an 
accident attended with the most unfortunate consequences ; I 
fell and dislocated one toe and severely strained another. So 
far, however, that was a mere matter of detail. Next day, 
as ill luck would have it, I slipped when going over some rocks 
and hurt my foot again, and this led to synovitis. That also 
was detail, though next morning I could not walk. In defiance 
of the Zanzibari proverb, " Never mount a donkey that has 
no saddle," a sack was tied on to the remaining donkey, and 
I rode. During the day the beast shied, the improvised saddle 
slipped, and I was thrown and dragged a few paces along the 
ground. During this the accident happened. In a collision 
with a basalt boulder my watch sustained a blow which smashed 
the glass and stopped the works. I did all I knew to start it 
again ; I oiled it, and patted it, and sang hymns to it. But it 
would not go ; and for the rest of the expedition I had to guess 
the time as best I could. 

At length, late one afternoon, we reached the edge of the 
Settima plateau near a conspicuous boss of lava, called from 
its shape Narol Gwinia, or the " Man's Head Hill." From this 
point we looked down into the valley of the Guaso Nyuri or 


Nyiro (as the Wanderobbo indifferently called it), and saw in 
the distance the hills of the northern frontier of the Kikuyu 
country. We therefore felt that this stage of the journey was 
almost at an end, and relaxed our supervision of the guide. 
He repaid this confidence by trying to steal some arrows from 
our native companions. He was detected, and fearing punish- 
ment quietly slipped out of camp. His escape was not dis- 
covered till the morning, when I at once started to search for 
him, accompanied by a porter, who was the only man in camp 
for whom the guide had ever betrayed the slightest feeling of 
regard. We hoped to find him sulking under a tree, but the 
track showed that he had started with no uncertain stride. We 
followed it for some distance, but it went straight away from 
camp, and the quest was hopeless. The guide had been a con- 
tinual source of trouble to us. He had broken every rule in 
camp, and his behaviour had been most erratic and capricious. 
We had treated him like a spoilt child, tolerating every irregu- 
larity, and humouring every whim, though at the same time 
we watched him night and day. When we found that he had 
gone, we all felt genuinely sorry for him ; for we knew that he 
could never reach Njemps. Even if he got there, he had 
nothing to gain ; for he had gone without the marked paper 
that was to be a sign to the chief that he had fulfilled his con- 
tract and been properly discharged. He would therefore not 
get his pay, and would probably be punished as a deserter. 
But the chances of his arrival at Njemps were so remote that 
the treatment he might receive there was not worthy of con- 
sideration. No doubt, unless the lions found him, the poor 
guide perished miserably of cold and hunger on the steppes of 
his native plateau. 

Our next camp was at the foot of a hill known as Doenyo 
Longari, where the Kikuyu dig the ochre with which they 
decorate their shields. Our last half ration of food had been 
served out the day before, but during the evening Omari found 
that a few of the porters had a little flour left. This was col- 
lected and found to amount to nine pounds in weight. I bought 
it at famine price, and it was made into a thin gruel and shared 
between the men. As the only food I could eat at the time 
was arrowroot, which in the absence of milk had to be boiled 
in water, we all fared rather badly. 


Next day we entered the Kikuyu forests, which were traversed 
in every direction by elephant paths. In one or two places 
we saw elephant tracks that could only have been made that 
morning ; but I had no time for hunting, even if a donkey had 
been good enough as a mount. We crossed the Guaso Nairobi 
(" Cold River "), and shortly afterwards emerged from the 
forests and had an extensive view to the south, across a great 
tract of undulating country, from which rose numerous clouds 
of smoke. These signs of habitation and cultivation cheered 
us, though we remembered the treacherous reputation of the 
people, and prepared for a possible struggle. We crossed three 
deep river gorges separated by lava plateaux, and approached 
the plantations and villages. We saw that some natives had 
seen us, so we selected a good site for camp, and fired a couple 
of shots to announce our arrival. 

No answer came, so I sent the best Kikuyu interpreter and 
half a dozen porters to try to find some natives. They returned 
an hour later with a promise that food should be brought to 
us. No one came, however, except one or two men who crept 
through the grass to watch us. During the afternoon, Omari, 
with characteristic pluck, went off alone to the village and 
scolded the elders for not having sent us food. I did not 
know he had gone until shortly before sunset, when the men, 
who had become seriously alarmed for his safety, reported his 
absence. We all feared that he had been taken prisoner. I 
served out 100 rounds of ammunition to each of five reliable 
men, and started off with them to demand his surrender. To 
our intense relief, however, we met him a few hundred yards 
from camp. His report as to the attitude of the natives was 
not reassuring, so we strengthened our defences, and made half 
the men go to sleep, while the rest of us kept guard. 

Just after ten o'clock we heard the dull thud of footsteps in 
a gully that ran from the plateau to the river, and saw a party 
of natives approaching us. They stopped in the mouth of the 
gully, and two of them came toward us waving torches. Our 
interpreter met them, and after a few minutes' conversation 
returned to say that the Kikuyu wanted to know who we were, 
whence we had come, whither we were going, and how we had 
dared to enter their country without permission ! They were 
willing to have a shauri, provided that the white man did not 


take part in it. Omari, Ramathan, and two porters were sent 
as our delegates, and they were met by an equal number of the 
Kikuyu. They lighted a fire, equidistant from our camp and 
the main body of natives, and round it the shauri was held. 
The Kikuyu declared that we were a bad lot and had smallpox 
with us, and that we only wanted to enter their country in 
order to spread it among them. Omari invited them into camp 
to inspect us, and offered to let them kill any one who was found 
to be suffering with the dread disease. He refused to discuss 
the general question that night, for he said that we were starv- 
ing, and that it is no use arguing with starving people. He de- 
clared that the natives must at once sell us sufficient food to last 
that night, and next day we would discuss the matter further. 
Omari was made a blood-brother with one of the Kikuyu ; they 
sold us some food, and the conference adjourned till next day. 

When the Kikuyu returned next morning we had our shauri. 
Ramathan opened it by telling the natives that we had crossed 
Laikipia, and wanted food to enable us to return northward in 
order to visit the great mountain of Kilinyaga (the Kikuyu 
name for Kenya). We therefore requested permission to enter 
their country and purchase provisions. " You shall not come 
in," replied one gray -haired elder. " Some white men came 
some few harvests back to our friends away there at Karthuri," 
he said, pointing to the south-west ; " they stormed the villages, 
they seized what food they wanted, and then burnt the rest. 
When the elders asked for payment they were shot, while the 
young men were taken away as slaves into the land of the 
Masai, and we have heard of them no more." We pleaded 
against the verdict, and protested against being made responsible 
for the acts of our predecessors. Ramathan made a long 
and eloquent speech, in which he expressed on my behalf the 
utmost horror at their story. Ramathan said that the white 
men who had done these things were bad, and that I was good ; 
that they were men of war, while I was a man of peace ; that 
they were great fighters, and I was a great medicine man. He 
promised that I would pay for everything, steal nothing, and 
harm no one. He warned them that if they refused to sell 
food I should infer that their friends at Karthuri had done the 
same, and that therefore the white men were justified in taking 
it by force, and I should have to do the same myself He 


assured them that I should be very sorry if this were necessary, 
for I liked the people, and thought they were good to work so 
hard and plant such big shambas, and were clever to grow so 
many different kinds of grain. I fear Ramathan said many 
things that I had not authorised, playing on the people's super- 
stitions, and extolling my powers as a great Mga?tga or medicine 
man. He however assured them that I wished my visit to do 
them good and not harm, and if the latter happened it would 
be their own fault. 

After a long and, to us, anxious shauri, the suspicions of the 
Kikuyu were allayed. Omari and Ramathan were made blood- 
brothers with the sons of the principal chief, and then permission 
was given to the women to sell us food. 

They flocked into camp, carrying gourds of flour, baskets 
of grain and beans, sheaves of sugar-cane, huge bunches of 
bananas, bundles of yams, sweet potatoes {vikwa and viazi), 
and maize cobs. With the exception of the sugar-cane we 
bought everything they brought us, for we wanted at least 
a ton of food, and with people so uncertain as the Kikuyu, a 
change in their attitude might come at any moment. In the 
afternoon another party of natives appeared on the scene, and 
protested against the food being sold to us. There was a 
noisy quarrel between the two factions, until our friends gave 
way ; then they all withdrew, leaving some warriors to watch 
the approaches to the camp, and prevent the women bringing 
us supplies by stealth. 

Next morning some ulcerated elders came for medicine ; it 
was a pleasure to dress the wounds of men who stood pain so 
well. A cretin also visited us, and by his hideous appearance 
and idiotic ways caused much merriment in camp. But there 
was no sign of more food. In the afternoon a party of warriors 
brought us some small bundles. This struck us as suspicious, 
for trading is usually left to the women ; so several men were 
kept in hiding in my tent ready for emergencies. At a given 
signal the Kikuyu raised a tremendous shout, and each of them 
tried to seize something and bolt with it from camp. We 
were too quick for them, and they gained nothing of any value. 
The son of the chief was in camp at the time, and did not 
escape. He was placed under arrest, and told that, in case of 
treachery, he would be shot. 


We saw no more natives that day except an old invalid, 
who came for medicine, bringing with him a few bananas as a 
present. His wants were satisfied, and he was sent back with 
the message that our prisoner would not be released until as 
much food as we wanted had been brought in. Twice during 
the night we heard natives creeping through the grass close to 
camp, but the attack which we all expected was not delivered. 

It drizzled with rain all night, but Mwini kept us awake 
and in good spirits with his merry songs. Next morning the 
invalids returned to camp. They came alone, so the rule of 
"no food, no medicine" was rigidly enforced, and they went 
sadly away. The cretin stayed with us, and I gave him a lump 
of salt, which he licked and enjoyed immensely ; he tried to do 
some trade with us, offering a rotten potato in exchange for a 
rifle, and a banana rind for a spade ; finally he tried to run 
away with the thermometer screen. The rest of the day was 
spent in a three-cornered quarrel between two parties of natives 
and ourselves. The situation several times looked serious, but 
the Kikuyu knew that if they attacked us the son of their chief 
would be the first to suffer. 

At last the natives sent a deputation to say they wanted to 
make friends again. The deputies came to us with the slow- 
ness befitting their dignity as messengers of peace ; but they 
returned much more quickly. The temptation of an empty 
meat tin and some broken bottles was too great ; they seized 
the coveted articles and fled. 

A number of women had come down with loads of food, 
which they intended to sell us, as soon as the quarrel should 
have been made up. They dropped their goods in terror, and 
ran away with the men. We collected their loads and carried 
them into camp, amid the wails of the women, who had stopped 
on a hillock a few hundred yards away. As soon as they had 
recovered from their fright they came to beg for their loads of 
food, as they said they had no right to bring them down. We 
allowed them to come into camp to identify their bundles, and 
told them that if they would persuade their friends to sell us 
what we wanted next day, they should be paid for what we 
had confiscated. Otherwise we should take it away with us, 
and they would get nothing. 

The plan answered ; the women used their influence, and 


the necessary supply of food was brought in on the morrow. 
Lomweri and lyutha, our two blood-brothers, were told to be 
ready at dawn next day to guide us through the forests to 
Ndoro. When the time came to start, the guides insisted on 
delay, and as it was raining, and was bitterly cold, we did not 
object. Later on, just as we were starting, a party of warriors, 
in full war array, emerged from the woods and marched quickly 
towards us. We prepared to receive them, and I led Lomweri 
a few paces in front of our line ; I levelled my revolver at his 
head, and signed to him to order the men to stop. He did so, 
and they obeyed at once. Lomweri sat on the ground, and 
looked calmly up at me, far less frightened than I should have 
been had the muzzle of a powerful revolver been almost touch- 
ing my ear. The leader of the warriors came up, and explained 
that their women were collecting firewood in the forests, and 
they were going out to protect them from Masai — a statement 
received by the porters with a shout of incredulous laughter. 
I remarked that it was only right for women to be protected 
during the discharge of their domestic duties, and that we 
should be delighted to help in this good work. Extra cartridges 
accordingly were served out with the greatest possible ostenta- 
tion, and the warriors filed off along a path through the forest. 
We waited for some time, and then followed them, marching 
with every precaution, and keeping a strict guard upon the 
guides. Progress was therefore slow. At three o'clock the two 
Kikuyu led us to a clearing, where they proposed we should 
stop for the night. From the point of view of defence, this 
place was a model of everything a camp ought not to be. So 
we continued our march ; we crossed the deep gorge of the 
Guaso Thegu, and camped at sunset, on the open plains at the 
western foot of Mount Kenya. 




" The only two essentials to happiness are a sound digestion and a hard heart." 

" There shall he see 
No enemy, 
But winter and rough weather." 

As Von Like It, ii. 5. 

Mount Kenya was first seen by a European on the 3rd 
December 1849, when a break in its veil of clouds enabled Dr. 
Ludwig Krapf to discern its snow-capped summit, from a hill 
above the Wa-kamba village of Kitui. Krapf admittedly saw 
it from a distance of about ninety miles, and though he stayed 
in the same district for some weeks he only saw it once, and 
then, but for a few minutes at sunset. European geographers, 
at this time, were not convinced of the existence of snow on 
Kilima Njaro, which had been discovered the year before by 
Rebmann. The evidence in the case of this more accessible 
mountain was far more definite, and it is therefore not sur- 
prising that Krapfs story was discredited, in spite of his 
description of the appropriate emotions that overcame him. 
To silence his traducers Krapf returned to the same district 
in I 85 I. He reached Kitui, but Kenya ^ — as he called the 
mountain — was not to be seen. He went forty miles nearer 
than on the previous occasion, but in vain. His small caravan 
was dispersed by a raiding party of Wa-kamba on the banks of 
the Tana, and he had to return to the coast without having 

1 The name Kenya was given to the mountain owing to a misunderstanding. The 
proper Kikuyu name is Kilinyaga. The Masai call it Doenyo Ebor — the White Moun- 
tain ; the " Wanderobbo " Doenyo Egeri — the Spotted Mountain; the Wa-kamba 
"Njalo," a term they also apply to Kilima Njaro ; and the Zanzibari "Meru," a name 
accepted in Europe for the peak west of Kilima Njaro. 

W 5 


seen the object of his quest. Hildebrandt followed on Krapf's 
footsteps in 1877, and spent some weeks making botanical 
collections in Kitui ; but he also does not appear to have seen 
the mountain,^ and the suspicions as to Krapfs veracity were 
strengthened. It was not seen, indeed, for the second time by 
a European until, in 1883, Joseph Thomson saw its western face 
across the plateau of Laikipia. The doubts as to the existence 
of the mountain had previously been removed by Wakefield and 
Denhardt's collections of the routes of various Arab and Suahili 
traders, to whom it was a familiar landmark, Thomson was 
the first to give any information about its structure, for he had 
the good fortune to enjoy several clear views of the mountain, 
from which, with his usual acumen, he correctly concluded 
it to be the denuded remnant of an old volcano. This peak, 
he tells us, " without a doubt represents the column of lava which 
closed the volcanic life of the mountain. . . . The crater has 
been gradually washed away." '^ 

Four years later Kenya was visited by Count Teleki, He 
camped at Ndoro, marched through the bamboo forests to 
the Alpine meadows above, and reached the height of a little 
over 13,800 feet. Here the failure of his food supply, and the 
sufferings of his men, compelled him to return. Count Teleki's 
account of his ascent gives us the first definite information we 
possess about the mountain. He made a small collection of 
plants, which proved the occurrence on it of representatives of 
the Alpine flora of Kilima Njaro and Abyssinia. Unfortunately 
his conclusions as to its structure are less satisfactory. Accord- 
ing to Teleki, Kenya is a well-preserved volcano, having a 
crater of from 4 to 4^ kilometres in diameter, and from 200 to 
300 metres in depth,^ while the highest point is only a tooth 
on the northern wall. Moreover, from his collections and 
descriptions it was concluded that the mountain was a dome of 
phonolite, and resemblances were detected between it and the 
phonolite peaks of Central Europe, 

This was absolutely different from Thomson's conclusions, 
but as it was based on an actual visit to the mountain, and not 

^ Vide Proc. Roy. Geog. Soc. new ser. vol. iv, (1882), p. 747, footnote. 

^ Through Masai Land, p. 224. 

^ Teleki is perfectly right as to the existence of this hollow ; his actual observations 
are all correct as matters of fact ; it is only in his interpretation of those facts that I cannot 
follow him. 


on a bird's-eye view of it from a point thirty miles distant, it 
was generally accepted. The subsequent expeditions sent out 
by the Imperial British East Africa Company in 1889 and 
1 89 1 were unable to contribute anything material to our 
knowledge of the mountain. Piggott first saw its eastern face 
early in 1889, and the three Europeans of the Tana expedition — 
Dundas, Bird Thompson, and Hobley — made a determined effort 
to ascend it from the south. They failed, however, to penetrate 
the whole of the forest zone, and had to return from the height 
of S600 feet. Dr. Peters passed near Kenya in 1889-90 
with the German Emin Pasha Relief Expedition, and his 
companion, Lieut, von Tiedemann, has given a sketch seen 
from the south-south-east ; but they were neither of them much 
nearer the mountain than Thomson had been. In 1892 
Lieut, von Hohnel, who had previously accompanied Count 
Teleki, but had been detained by illness in Ndoro during the 
latter's ascent, returned to the district with Mr. Astor Chanler, 
who bore the heavy expenses of the expedition. It was hoped 
they would together work out the topography of the north- 
east side of Kenya, and possibly gain the summit ; they carried 
out some most useful explorations in the Daicho region to the 
north-east of Kenya, but did not reach the mountain. Their 
work was stopped by a series of thrilling adventures ; Lieut, von 
Hohnel was seriously injured by a wounded rhinoceros, and later 
on the porters mutinied and returned in a body to the coast. 

This forms a complete record of previous exploration of 
Mount Kenya, so that our knowledge of the mountain is very 
limited when compared with that of its great southern rival, 
Kilima Njaro. As this is near the coast, and has in fact occa- 
sionally been seen from the sea (as e.g. off Melindi in May 1893), 
as it is accessible by an easy road, and as its natives were once 
friendly, it has been visited by more than a hundred Europeans 
and carefully explored. Kilima Njaro has been ascended to the 
summit, it has been geologically mapped, and its flora and 
fauna described in some detail. In regard to Kenya, however, 
our knowledge was most rudimentary. It was not certain 
whether it had a well-preserved crater, or whether it was a 
volcano in the last stages of decay ; and the estimates of its 
height varied from 18,000 feet (Ravenstein) to 23,000 feet 


I therefore resolved to attempt to reach Kenya to settle 
these and other problems connected with it. I assured every 
one on the coast that I had no intention of completing the 
ascent ; for I guessed from Peters' photograph that it was not 
likely to yield to any one climbing alone, and none of the 
Zanzibari could be expected to venture upon the snow. 

The preliminary accounts given by Teleki and Hobley of 
their attempts to ascend the mountain, showed that the first 
difficulty was the traverse of the forests on the lower slopes. 
It was advisable, therefore, to select a route which would lead 
through these at their narrowest part. The full reports of 
these ascents had not been published when I left England, so 
I had been careful to engage porters who had accompanied 
both expeditions. The descriptions and statements of these 
men showed that the forests are narrower on the west than on 
the south. They are probably thinnest on the eastern side ; 
but from the direction from which we approached, this was 
quite inaccessible to us. 

On emerging from the forests of western Kikuyu we therefore 
marched northward through Ndoro, at a sufficient distance from 
the base of Kenya to get a general view of the mountain. At 
noon we selected the bay of moorland that seemed to run highest 
into the forests, and at its head chose a place for camp. 

The rest of that day was spent in a bustle of preparations. 
A " zeriba " or " boma " was built to protect the camp, and a 
strong shed begun to shelter the stores. Loads were re-sorted, 
rations served out for ten days, and reserve food packed. 
Twice Omari and I went through the baggage, to pick out 
things that could possibly be left behind. My own kit was cut 
down to the lowest possible limit, though I took all available 
clothing to lend to the men. 

Our camp here was at the foot of the mountain — in fact a 
few hundred feet up its lowest slope ; but we could not see it, 
for an impenetrable mist obscured everything. Luckily for us, 
however, the mist dispersed for a few minutes at sunset. I was 
thus able to take a bearing of the summit, to note the direction 
of the valleys and ridges that lead to it, and to plan a route 
by which to traverse the forests to the peaks above. 

At eight o'clock next morning (24th June) all was ready. 
The men paraded, and the twelve chosen for the expedition were 


called out. Loads were given them, and without allowing any- 
time for discussion or murmurs, Omari led the way out of camp, 
I kept in the rear to prevent dawdling or desertion ; for the men 
who had been with Dundas and Hobley, in their attempted 
ascent from the south, told such pitiful tales of their sufferings, 
that the porters were loth to enter the dreaded forests. We 
plunged into these almost immediately, and found they con- 
sisted of lofty junipers and Podocarpus rising from a matted 
undergrowth of bush and shrubs. We forced a passage 
through the jungle and startled a pack of monkeys {Colobus 
occidentalism Rochb.), whose long black and white fur so closely 
resembled the Beardmoss {Usned) on the trees, that they were un- 
recognisable at a very short distance. By watching the men in 
front of me, and listening to the noise made by the leaders as 
they lopped off branches or trampled down the undergrowth, 
I could estimate and guide the direction of our line of march. 
After passing for two hours through level forest, we came to the 
foot of the ridge by which I had resolved to make the ascent. 
It was low and broad and we easily reached its summit, and 
followed along it to the east-north-east. 

In the afternoon we found a swamp in a hollow, on the 
flank of the ridge. It was fringed by the common English 
rush {Juncus effusus, L.) and reed-mace {Typha angustifolia, L.), 
while dense clumps of tall bamboos were scattered over the 
hillside above. These clumps rapidly increased both in 
number and size, till they united into a continuous belt which 
seemed to bar our further progress. It had been drizzling 
ever since we entered the forests, and as the rain now 
increased to a steady downpour, we pitched camp under some 
lofty Podocarpus trees. I spent the rest of the day collecting 
the snails and slugs which lived in the damp undergrowth. 
The rain continued all night, and at daybreak next morning 
a cold raw mist lay around us. We waited for a couple of 
hours for this to lift, but as there seemed no prospect of it 
doing so, we resumed our march. At first an elephant track 
ran past our camp, and we followed it through the jungle until 
it left the crest of the ridge, and ran down the slope toward 
the roaring torrent in the valley below. This was out of our 
way, and we had to cut a path through the jungle. The 
work from this point was the most trying I have ever ex- 


perienced. The bamboos are usually about 40 feet in height 
and from 2 to 3 inches in diameter, and are often packed 
together so closely that it is impossible to force a way between 
them. At the height of from i o to 15 feet from the ground 
they branch repeatedly, and their long grass-like leaves interlace 
into a dense canopy of vegetation. Above this the trees give 
off broad-spreading branches, which are connected by lianas 
and other climbing plants into a second roof of vegetation. A 
mist hung over the forests during the whole time we were in 
them, and kept the vegetation sodden with moisture, and made 
the mossy soil as saturated as a sponge. 

Through this dark and dismal forest we had to force a 
way. Occasionally an elephant path would run in our direction, 
and we could then make comparatively rapid progress, delaying 
only to lop off the lower branches of the bamboos, to cut 
through fallen stems, or to climb over dead tree trunks. The 
elephants, however, did not obey the rules of mountaineering, 
and their tracks soon ran down into the valleys, so that most 
of the way we had to cut a path step by step. Every blow of 
our matlocks upon the bamboos shook the sodden canopy 
overhead, and continual shower-baths of water kept us wet 
and miserable. My clothes were soon soaked through, while 
the raw, damp cold chilled the porters to the marrow. We 
had to stop every hour to light fires to warm them, and even 
then they found the climate almost unbearable, and one or two 
cried like children. 

We trusted by hard work to traverse the forest belt in two 
days, for I was anxious to spend only one night within it. 
But, as we soon saw, this hope was vain. On the evening of 
the second day we had to pitch camp on a slope, where 
the bamboos were so dense that we had to clear every foot 
of ground we wanted, while it was so swampy, that we 
had to spread out the bamboos as a platform on which to 
support the tents. I went some distance farther, to try to find 
a better place, and so knew that we were still in the heart of 
the bamboo zone ; but even then I was not prepared for the 
revelation made by the boiling - point thermometers in the 
evening, that, despite all our efforts, we had only risen 1 700 
feet in two days. Determined not to lose a moment's time next 
morning, Omari, Fundi, and I went ahead at daybreak to cut 


the path, leaving the porters to follow as soon as it had become 
less cold. We made a desperate effort to get out of the forests, 
but when night fell we were still within them, and the bamboos 
as thick as ever. We were so exhausted that, when the order 
to camp was given, we, all lay down where we stood ; and it 
was not till some time afterwards that we could rouse ourselves 
to light fires and prepare food. So far the work had been 
simply miserable. We had not once seen or felt the sun 
since we left the meadows of Laikipia. We had never once 
seen more than 20 yards ahead, and it was only rarely that 
we could see up to the tree tops. The natural history had 
also been disappointing. Of vegetation there was enough and 
to spare ; but the species were few, and the plants so sodden 
with moisture that I could not press them ; the bamboos were 
especially irritating, for I could not find a single flower or 
fruit, and thus it has been impossible to determine the genus 
to which they belong. Many animals were not to be expected, 
and we only saw one pack of monkeys, some red-breasted 
birds rather larger than robins, many slugs and snails, and a 
{q.\n insects. At night we heard the shrill cry of a cony 
{Procavia shoana, Gigl.), of which I found a skull. 

On the morning of the fourth day, however, there came a 
welcome change. While cutting a way through the bamboos 
we suddenly stumbled upon a block of lava (andesite). I was 
delighted to see it, for I had not previously seen as much 
as a pebble since we left Laikipia. As I examined it, my 
interest was roused ; for its grooved and rounded surface 
suggested that it had been carried to its present position by 
ice. The denseness of the jungle, however, prevented any 
further evidences being obtained here, and I was accordingly 
all the more delighted when shortly afterwards we entered a 
clearing, and through the mist dimly discerned a high rocky 
ridge a little distance above us. With a cheer we hurried 
forward. The bamboos became smaller and scarcer, and were 
soon left behind. The forests gave place to scattered clumps 
of trees, and the rank undergrowth to a firm rich turf ; the 
long monotonous slope broke up into a belt of undulating 
ground, which, with its numerous swampy, mossy hollows, 
its irregularly scattered boulders, and its stiff, greasy clay, 
reminded me of a glacial moraine. The men threw down their 


loads and basked in the sunshine, while I examined the sections 
in the stream banks, and collected the flowers on the meadows. 
Many of these were old friends. There were clover and black- 
berry, dandelions and bitter -cress {Cardamine, sp.) Some 
silvery gray bushes about 6 feet in height, which clothed the 
hillside, proved to be an arborescent form of that most typical 
of Alpine meadow plants, the Lady's Mantle {Alchemilla). 
These plants were associated with others, such as the gladiolus, 
-*vvhich I knew only in gardens, and others, such as a tree-lobelia, 
which were of a type quite new to me. I also caught some 
specimens of a common English butterfly, the Clouded Yellow 
{Colzas edusa, Linn.) 

An hour passed all too quickly, and then some rising 
clouds warned us to hasten on to camp. Immediately 
after we had started we surprised, and were surprised by, a 
small antelope (a bush-buck). It made no effort to run away, 
but stood and watched us, until a bullet from Omari's Snider 
cut up the ground beside it. The path cutting had so unsteadied 
my hand, that I preferred to leave the responsibility of the shot 
to some one else. 

Above us rose a steep wall of rock, up the face of which 
ran an elephant path. While scrambling up this the storm 
broke upon us, and my men were alarmed by the appearance 
of hail and sleet. Fortunately some of them had seen hail in 
Kavirondo, and on the summit of Mau, and they were therefore 
not as much startled by the sleet as they might otherwise have 

The men faced the storm most pluckily, but as we ascended 
the slope it became much more severe, and I went on ahead to 
select a place for camp. I was recalled by a signal-shot, and 
found that the porters had collapsed on a half- frozen peat 
swamp. They were crouching under the lee of boulders and 
bushes for shelter from the driving sleet. A few of the stoutest 
put up the tents, and I went on again to find a better place 
for the permanent camp, as I intended to leave the men here 
while I went higher up the mountain. On my return I found 
that one of the porters had not come in. The Askari, who 
were responsible for his safety, as it was their duty to sec that 
no one lagged behind, and my plucky headman had all tried 
to go back to the rescue, but had been unable to face the 


storm. The missing porter was a man named Wadi Sadi, 
whom I had especially chosen to join the party ; for he was a 
sailor, and thus might have been expected to be a good climber ; 
moreover he was the lightest man in the caravan. 

I was therefore disappointed to hear that he was lost, for 
it showed he was useless for the work for which he had been 
chosen. I rushed back at once ; but as the snow had hidden 
our trail, I missed it, and had to search for an hour before I 
found him. He was lying on his load about 300 feet below 
the level of the camp ; he was covered with snow and nearly 
frozen to death. A little brandy revived him, but he was too 
weak to stand. As it was still snowing it would have been 
useless to have returned for help, for the porters were so cowed 
that they would have refused to move. I recollected that 
Wadi weighed less than the burdens some of my men had to 
bear all day long, so I resolved to carry him. He was able to 
cling to my back, and slowly, and with many halts, I struggled 
with him up the slope. If the porter had left his load when 
he first became too weak to carry it, he could no doubt have 
walked on with the others. I thought his action in staying 
out in the snow with it simply Quixotic, and, annoyed at the 
trouble it had given me, I rather brutally told him next morn- 
ing that he was a fool. It is a point of honour among Zanzibari 
never to leave their loads, and I shall not forget the man's 
reproachful look as he asked, " How could I leave my load 
without my master's orders to do so ? " 

Another trait in the Zanzibari character was shown at 
the same camp. In the morning the men came to tell me 
that the water they had left in their cooking- pots was all 
bewitched. They said it was white, and would not shake ; the 
adventurous Fundi had even hit it with a stick, which would 
not go in. They begged me to look at it, and I told them to 
bring it to me. They declined, however, to touch it, and implored 
me to go to it. The water of course had frozen solid. I 
handled the ice and told the men they were silly to be afraid 
of it, for this change always came over water on the tops of 
high mountains. I put one of the pots on the fire, and pre- 
dicted it would soon turn again into water. The men sat 
round and anxiously watched it ; when it had melted they 
joyfully told me that the demon was expelled, and I told them 


< < 

> > 


,-i m 

ffi o 

W " 

>7 h ra 


they could now use the water ; but as soon as my back was 
turned they poured it away, and refilled their pots from an 
adjoining brook. 

We moved camp next day to a drier and more protected 
situation, where we left the invalids. My tent was carried to a 
point 1700 feet higher up. We had to march for some time 
across a peat bog, over which we made fair progress, until the 
crust thawed ; after this wc were for most of the time plunged 
to the waist in half-frozen peat. Dragging the loads through 
this was terribly fatiguing ; and a depressing sleet, which some- 
times passed into rain and sometimes into snow, added to our 
discomfort and obscured the view. After escaping from the 
bog, we reached the crest of a ridge. We found there a 
sheltered nook amid some crags of agglomerate, at a place 
where a grove of giant groundsels and tree lobelias supplied 
abundant firewood. The men begged that we might go no 
farther, and I was only too willing to grant their request. 
They put up the tent, and then, all but my cook, my personal 
attendant, Fundi, and a porter who was too weak to return, 
went back to the lower camp. 

From this point I made a series of excursions to work out 
the topography and geology of the ridges of the mountain. 

In order that the account of the excursions among the 
central peaks of Kenya may be understood, it is necessary to 
give a short sketch of the topography of this part of the moun- 
tain, and of the nomenclature of its peaks, valleys, and lakes. 
For more detailed information reference must be given to the 
descriptions in the GeograpJiical Journal and Quarterly Journal 
of the Geological Society.^ As it is impossible to describe the 
mountain without names, some have had to be invented. I 
should not, of course, think of applying European terms to 
places for which native names are already in existence ; but 
in a locality where there are no names, there can be no reason- 
able objection to proposing them. 

Several names are obvious. The valley in which Telcki 
built his boma, and reached his highest point, it is natural to 
call the Teleki Valley. The name of this courageous Hungarian 

^ J. W. Gregory, "Contributions to the Physical Geography of British East Africa," 
Geog. Journ. vol. iv. pp. 413-421 ; "The Glacial Geology of Mount Kenya," Quart. 
Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. i. pp. 515-530. 


explorer may also be conveniently applied to the two lakes on 
the floor of this valley, and to the ridge at its head. To the 
south of the Teleki Ridge is a peak i 5,800 feet in height, which 

is an important landmark. It can be clearly recognised in the 
sketch made by von Hohnel from Ndoro, and may therefore 
be called Mount Hohnel. The name of this accomplished carto- 
grapher may also be applied to a lake in a cirque upon this 
mountain, and to the valley down which flows the stream which 


rises in this lake. To the south of the Hohnel Valley is the 
head stream of the Guaso Mairi, and the valley may therefore 
be named after this river. For the main valley on the south 
side of the mountain I propose the name of the Hobley Valley, 
as it is probably the one which the British East Africa Com- 
pany's expedition would have entered had it traversed the 
whole of the forest zone. The tarns upon the floor of this 
valley I beg to call after Mr. W. Bird Thompson, the caravan 
leader of that expedition. When we come to the glaciers and 
the central peak the names are not so obvious. The actual 
peak consists of five pyramids, viz. the double central peak, two 
large aiguilles which tower above the Lewis Glacier, and a sharp 
triangular peak on the western arete. The last, 17,500 feet 
in height, I named Point Piggott, after the last Administrator 
of the British East Africa Company. The glaciers are on the 
south-western quadrant of the mountain. There are none to 
the south-east, and I could not see any to the north-west, though 
they may occur there, having been hidden by clouds at the 
time when I might otherwise have seen them. The principal 
glacier is on the south side of the mountain, and to it I gave 
the name of the Lewis Glacier, out of respect to the late Henry 
Carvell Lewis, whose brilliant researches have thrown so much 
light on glacial problems in England and America. The other 
glaciers are the Tyndal Glacier on the west side of the 
mountain (PI. XVII.), and the Darwin Glacier in the valley 
between the other two. The latter was so named as we owe 
to Darwin the first precise description of a glacial valley in 
England. The Heim and Forel Glaciers are two small corrie 
glaciers on the western face, which were named as they proved 
very useful in surveying. The limits of the three valley glaciers 
were marked by moraines. 

The most interesting excursion made from the camp on the 
agglomerate ridge was the ascent of Mount Hohnel. I took 
with me my favourite porter, Fundi Mabruk, who was especially 
useful, as he had accompanied Teleki during his visit to Kenya 
and had been with him to the highest point then reached. We 
crossed the Hohnel Valley, and up a cwm, which from the fine 
crags of phonolite at its head I called Phonolite Cwm. This 
led us to the Teleki Valley, which we followed to a col leading 
south-eastward to Lake Hohnel. From this point we climbed 


the western ridge ; this was at first very easy, but we soon 
came to a part where the arete was steeper, and broken by a 
series of lava cUfifs. We could easily have avoided these, but 
they were very easy, and so, to test my companion's climbing 
powers, I resolved to scale them. Fundi did not like the look 
of the cliffs, but after a little persuasion he consented to be 
roped, and I went ahead up a gully. Having taken my 
position I had another little argument with Fundi, accompany- 
ing it by a few gentle pulls on the rope. Thus exhorted he 
climbed up about lo feet, but his foothold having once given 
way, he was useless. I had to lower him to the bottom, and 
nothing would induce him to try it again. " That is all very 
well for wajuzi (lizards) and Wazungu (white men), but Zanzi- 
bari can't do that," was his verdict. " You'd better come back, 
master," he cried ; " I promised to follow you anywhere, but 
how can I, when the path stands up on end?" He would not 
come on, so there was nothing for it but to order " fungua " 
(unrope), and continue the climb alone. At several places 
vertical lava walls barred progress on the crest, and I finally 
gained the summit from the south-eastern arete, which I had 
reached by a traverse. I rested here a while to examine the 
ridges round this peak, and to consider the various possible 
lines of attack upon the central summit. This rose abruptly 
as a great black pyramid from the snowfields and glaciers at 
its base. The face opposite me was so steep that the snow 
only rested on it in cracks and hollows, and down gullies. 
There was not a cloud upon it, but here and there a streak 
of wind-borne snow-dust softened the harsh form of the rocks 
and the dazzling lines of snow. It was so delightful to sit 
upon the summit of the one peak, estimating the advantages 
offered by the different lines of attack upon the other, and 
comparing it with old Alpine friends, that I paid no heed to 
the clouds creeping up the valleys from the west. I stayed on 
the summit till they had reached me, and robbed me of the 
view. Then, in order to obtain a fuller series of exposures 
of the succession of beds of lavas and volcanic ashes, of 
which Mount Hohnel is composed, than I had seen during 
the ascent, I began to descend its western face toward the 

The climbing was at first rather difficult, as the face of the 


mountain consists of a series of almost vertical lava cliffs, 
separated by slopes of volcanic ash and talus. The snow on 
the ledges was in a very unstable condition, and rendered the 
traverses along them highly interesting. Had there not been 
good hitching points for the rope, it would have been risky. 
Owing to the mist, it was impossible to see ahead and select 
the best way down, and I was often compelled to retrace my 
steps, and strike out blindly in a fresh direction, throwing 
stones ahead to obtain warning of my approach to the next 
cliff of lava. I was, therefore, not sorry when the snow was 
restricted to mere patches, and the slope became more gradual 
and passed into the swampy meadows beside the lake. 

Some dead lobelias supplied wood for a fire, on which I 
boiled my thermometers, and warmed some beans. Meanwhile 
I sketched the outline of the lake, and examined the glaciated 
boulder-strewn barrier that supports it. Then, refreshed by the 
food and rest, I crossed the ridge on the southern side of the 
Hohnel valley, and collected in the valley to the south, till 
gathering clouds and approaching sunset warned me to return 
to camp. 

The camp on the ridge of agglomerate was too far from 
the glaciers and the central peak to be of any use as a centre 
for excursions upon them. Fundi Mabruk, a young porter 
named Yussuf, and I therefore carried one of the mien's small 
shelter tents and a few stores to the Teleki Valley. We 
pitched our diminutive camp under the shelter of some 
groundsel trees, a few hundred yards from Teleki's highest 
point, and near some old glacial moraines, which ran across 
the valley like railway embankments. My first excursion 
from this point was spoiled by a slight attack of mountain 
sickness. As this occurred at only the elevation of a little 
under 15,000 feet, I was surprised and disappointed. I did 
not like to confess this to Fundi, as it seemed safer to keep 
him in absolute ignorance of the existence of this malady. 
I therefore became absorbingly interested in the study of a 
coarse block of lava, one part of which happened to form a 
comfortable seat. Shortly afterwards the usual afternoon snow- 
storm broke upon us, and I was glad of this excuse to return 
to camp. The attack was very slight, I soon recovered, and 
suffered no more inconvenience, except undue fatigue. 


Next day I intended to begin the exploration of the 
glaciers. I was especially anxious to measure their rate of 
flow, for which purpose it was necessary to put up a line of 
stakes across one of them. As it would not be fair to expect 
any one to attempt snow-work in bare feet, I had brought up 
a reserve pair of boots and leggings, which I tried to persuade 
Fundi to wear. He put on the boots — under protest, but 
absolutely refused to keep them on. As he also declined to 
allow me to put nails into the soles of his feet (his hide would 
probably have held them), I had sadly to reconcile myself to the 
knowledge that whatever snow-work was necessary would have 
to be done alone. Being anxious to start before daybreak, at 
sunset we wrapped ourselves up in our blankets and lay down 
on our improvised mattresses of Alchemilla bush. The snow- 
storm, instead of stopping at its usual time, increased in severity, 
and such a furious gale of wind swept down the valley, that I 
thought several times the tent would be blown away. At 
about two in the morning we were alarmed by the rush and 
whistle of slipping snow ; with a crash the wall of turf and stone 
we had built above the camp fell in upon the tent. The 
doorway was blocked by snow and earth, but a desperate jerk 
tore up the loosened tent-pegs, and we sprang out into the storm 
to examine, as well as the blinding snowstorm would permit us, 
the exact extent of the peril. The slip, however, had stopped, 
though it had covered our tent ground, and buried the few 
things and food we had with us. There was no danger, but 
it was impossible to light a fire or repitch the tent in the 
darkness and the storm, and there was nothing for it but 
to jump about, wrapped up in our blankets, to keep ourselves 
alive until the morning. The two Zanzibari suffered terribly, 
which, as the thermometer marked 28° below freezing,^ 
was not surprising. My boy Yussuf simply sobbed with the 
cold. The more stolid Fundi, in answer to my exhortations 
to cheer up, as the sun was coming, when we should all be 
warm, only replied with his usual fatalism, " Yes, it will come,' 

1 It should be pointed out that this was not the proper air temperature. The ther- 
mometer was simply slung on my ice axe, and not properly protected from the wind. 
The instrument was an ordinary bath thermometer that had been given me by Mr. 
Ainsworth, as none of my thermometers were graduated below 40° F. The instrument 
was broken on the return journey, and so its inde.x error could not be verified. Meyer, 
however, in the warm season recorded a temperature of 10.6^ F. , at an elevation of 14,200 
feet, on Kilima Njaro [Ostafrikanische Glctscherfahrten, 1890, p. 165). 

No. XV. 


Page 176. 



and Inshallah (God pleasing), we shall be alive when it does 

This little accident put an end to my hopes of starting 
before daylight. It was not till some time after sunrise that 
we felt sufificiently warmed to face the cold wind that swept 
down the valley. Breakfast was impossible, as our food was 
buried in the snow-drift, but I had long since ceased to regard 
this meal as a necessity. Leaving Yussuf to look after the 
camp, Fundi and I hurried along the valley to the foot of the 
old cliff, which must have marked the site of an icefall in 
the old glacier. Here the valley bent abruptly to the north. 
We climbed the cliff, and then, turning again to the east, 
toiled up a long tiring slope, covered with moraine. Numerous 
dead lobelia stems lay on this, though there were none then 
living at this elevation. We crossed some dykes of phonolite, 
and scrambled up some rocks, over which the stream from the 
glacier plunged in a series of leaps. Above this we reached a 
platform, upon which rested the end (or snout) of the Lewis 
glacier. I was greatly interested to find here a series of five 
small concentric moraines, the 
uppermost of which has been 
broken through by the glacier 
so that it is now re-advancing 
I rested on the edge of the plat- 
form, to sketch the moraines 
and wait for Fundi. That 
morning he was weak and ill, 
but he plodded steadily, though 
painfully, upward. He had often 
talked to me about the great 
white fields he had seen with 
Dachi-tumbo (Teleki), and how 
bitterly disappointed he had 
been at not reaching them. 
He had taken a keen personal 
interest in this expedition, and 
his influence with the men had 
been most useful. I therefore waited for him to pass me, that 
he might be the first man to set foot on the glaciers of Kenya. 
He came up, laid his load upon the ground, kicked off his 


Fig. 5. — Terminal Moraines of the 
Lewis Glacier. 


zebra-hide sandals, and mounted upon a boulder. Then, with 
his hands together before him, he began to pray. I could not 
understand all he said, but sufficient to know that he thanked 
Allah for having enabled him to come where neither native 
nor white man had ever been before, and to stand on the edge 
of the great white fields he had seen with Dachi-tumbo from 
afar. He assured Allah that he was now more anxious 
to return in safety to the coast than he had ever been 
before, so that he might tell his friends of the wonders he had 

After the prayer was over, I told Fundi to go on to the 
glacier. He went a few steps farther, and then, with a pleading 
look, said, " No farther, master ; it is too white." 

There we lighted a fire, and boiled the thermometers, 
obtaining data which placed the altitude at 15,580 feet. As 
soon as the instruments had cooled, I prepared to continue the 
ascent. But Fundi, whose curiosity was now satisfied, begged 
to be allowed to return. He complained that his head was 
aching, that his stomach was very bad, that he felt very sick, 
and that his legs would not do what he told them. It was 
obvious he was suffering from mountain sickness, and it was 
not fair to take him farther. I therefore added his share of the 
load of instruments, firewood, and " pitons " (or pegs on which 
to fasten the rope) to my own, and let him go back. Before 
doing so, I fear I completely ruined any reputation for sanity 
I might have had left, by executing a Masai war-dance on 
the snout of the glacier, and then pelting Fundi with -snow- 

I had hoped to ascend by the right moraine of the glacier, 
but this was tbo risky, owing to the falls of snow and rock 
that thundered down on to it from the face of the cliffs on the 
north. I was therefore obliged to continue along the left or 
south moraine, until above the icefall of the glacier. The snow- 
field here extended to the south, and as it would have taken 
too much time to skirt it, I risked a traverse across to the 
main south arete of the mountain. The snow was in fairly 
good condition ; and the few crevasses were marked by " droop," 
and so could be avoided if not easily crossed. The ascent along 
the arete was less easy. The ridge rose gently till it reached 
the point above a cliff, v/hich stands out in the middle of the 


Page 178. 


glacier. On both sides of this the ice was thin and very rotten. 
Numerous rocks jutted above its surface, and hitching the rope 
over these gave me sufficient confidence to proceed. As soon 
as the arete was clear of the rocks, it became sharper and 
steeper. It was bare of snow, for it was fully exposed to the 
west, and was thus windswept. It sloped steeply on the left 
to the " bergschrund," which had prevented me from reaching 
the arete on the north side of the rocks. The ice, however, 
was firm, but intensely hard. My ice-axe was too light for 
the work, and thus step-cutting was even more fatiguing than 
it would otherwise have been. About this time I became 
rather sleepy, and so tired that I could only go a few steps at 
a time. To lighten my burden I tied most of it into a bundle 
and fixed it to a peg in the ice, carrying on with me only a 
little firewood and a couple of instruments without their cases. 
I took one of the boiling-point thermometers out of its brass 
tube, and carried it fastened into my pith helmet. An accident 
to it would have detracted from the value of my long series 
of altitude determinations, and left me dependent on only one 
instrument ; but though I was quite conscious of this, I some- 
how felt strangely indifferent to the risk of an accident, which 
would have distressed me deeply. 

As -I approached the rocks of the central peak the crest of 
the ice became broken. An occasional traverse was necessary 
round pillars or " seracs " of ice, and it became quite clear 
that I could not go much farther. I persevered, however, for 
though it was hopeless single-handed to reach the summit, I 
was anxious to ascend a couple of hundred feet higher, when 
it would have been possible to make a traverse on to the main 
eastern arete, and gain a view over the north-eastern part of 
the mountain. But as I approached the rocks the ice again 
became snow-covered. The slope to the left was less steep 
than it had been, but the snow was in too bad a condition to 
be crossed alone. A few yards farther up a snow cornice 
overhung the cliff to the east. This might have supported me 
then, but it possibly would not have done so on my return later 
in the day. I recalled an unpleasant memory of an April 
afternoon spent on a ledge in the Cottian Alps, waiting till the 
cold of night should harden some snow I had safely crossed 
in the morning. I had no desire to repeat this experience, 


and there was nothing for it but to return, especially as the 
afternoon snowstorm was blowing up from the west.^ 

I therefore worked back to the nearest rock, and tried to 
light a fire to boil the thermometer. But the wood was damp 
and would not burn, though I kept on trying till I had used 
up my last match. 

The storm broke before I had got off the arete, and as it 
had buried my footmarks I did not care to risk crossing the 
glacier again, for the ice in the neighbourhood of the cliffs was 
much crevassed. I kept along the crest to a col at the height 
of 1 6,600 feet, which leads over to the Hobley Valley. I stayed 
for a few minutes to pile some of the blocks of coarse rhyolite 
that occur there into a small stone man, under which I left 
a note of the date of the ascent, and then ran down the Lewis 
glacier moraine to camp, reaching it, very exhausted, two hours 
before sunset. The fact that I ordered " fannya jocula tiari " 
(make food ready), as soon as I was within shouting distance, 
and settled down at once to as hearty a meal as I dared make, 
seemed to relieve my men considerably ; but I could estimate, 
from the anxious way they watched me, their deep concern for 
my mental welfare. 

Next day I made another attempt by the western arete, 
hoping that, as this was all rock work, I should be less handi- 
capped by going alone. I ascended the ridge that forms the 
north wall of the Teleki Valley, and continued along this until 
I came to a depression which, from the existence of two lake- 
lets on the summit, I have called Two Tarn Col. From this 
point I had my last view of the snowfields of Kenya, though 
I was among them for the rest of that day, and was within 
range of view of the mountain for a month afterwards. Just 
before sunset that evening a rift in the clouds gave me for 
three minutes a view of the double-peaked summit, but with 
that brief exception I never saw it again. The clouds buried 
it the whole time, and prevented my obtaining a single bearing 
by which to help in the determination of its position. 

This last view, however, was perhaps the best. At my feet, 
in a deep valley, lay the snow-covered and crevassed Tyndal 
Glacier, beyond which rose the steep western face of the final 

^ These storms greatly increased the difficulties of chmbing on Kenya. They occurred 
every afternoon, and spoilt a terribly high proportion of the twelve hours of daylight. 


With Point Piggott a.nd the Tvnd.'^l Glacier. 


peak. Unlike the southern side this was almost entirely 
covered by snow and ice, and on it rested two small corric 
glaciers (the Heim and Forel) supported upon ledges, the 
larger of them ending in a cliff of ice from two to three 
hundred feet in height. Huge masses frequently break off 
from the ends of both of these, and fall with a crash on to 
the margin of the Tyndal Glacier below, where they accumu- 
late as fan-shaped piles of ice. 

To the north rose the steep pyramidal peak of Point 
Piggott, separated by a depression from the western arete of 
the mountain. This ridge ends to the south as a cliff, which 
forms the northern boundary of the basin of the Tyndal Glacier. 
Couloirs of snow occur in places along it, and one at least of 
these might be practicable for a full-sized party, but a yawning 
bergschrund separated the glacier from the neve fields at the 
foot of the cliff. 

I hoped, however, that the northern face of this ridge would 
be easier, and resolved to work round the western and northern 
sides of Point Piggott, and thus gain the depression between 
it and the central peak. 

A rough scramble over a slope, covered with a mixture of 
snow and talus, took me on to the western edge of Point 
Piggott ; but a mist covered the ridges to the north, and thus 
I was disappointed of my view in this direction. It also drove 
me farther than I had intended up Point Piggott, before begin- 
ning to work round its northern face. During this traverse 
I continued to ascend, until I must have been level with the 
" breche " or depression which I hoped to reach, but the mist 
prevented my determining my exact position. I was at length 
stopped, at a height of probably about 17,200 feet, little below 
that gained on the southern arete, by some cliffs which it was 
hopeless to attempt to scale ; I tried to turn them by a traverse 
at a slightly lower level, which the loose snow made rather 
uncomfortable, though I had always plenty of hitching-points 
for the rope. Progress was very slow, and I could not see 
that the daily snowstorm was blowing up earlier than usual. 
My retreat was too late ; the storm broke while I was still 
on the northern face of the peak, and rendered some rocks 
I had skipped over in the ascent quite impassable. I had 
to descend a gully in order to try to reach some less steeply 


inclined snow lower down ; this, however, was so powdery that 
I could not cross it, and had to continue down the north face, 
which, but for the rope, I could not have done. In consequence 
of this I missed some sheets of paper which I had left in the 
morning in order to guide me on my return, entered the wrong 
valley, and did not get back to camp till three hours after dark. 
Here the news was awaiting me that my men at the lower 
camp were ill, and also a request to descend next morning to 
attend to them. 

The cold at night was intense, for the sky was clear and 
cloudless, and an icy wind from the snowfields whistled among 
the crags beside the camp. Personally I revel in cold, so I 
gaily tripped out of my tent to read the thermometer ; but 
on that occasion it was too much for me, and I was glad 
to get back again to my blanket - bag, covering my retreat 
by depreciatory comments on the value of meteorological 

The night was followed by a wet day. I sent the men 
down with the goods to the lower camp, and remained behind 
for a short time with an Askari to collect in the Hohnel 
Valley. While doing so it began to snow ; and when we began 
the descent, we entered first a cold drizzling mist, and then 
heavy rain. The Askari delayed progress, for he walked rather 
slowly, and had a great dread of being lost. Whenever I got 
a few yards ahead of him, and he lost sight of me in the mist, he 
would shout excitedly, " Zhuia ! bwana, zhuia ! " (Stop ! master, 
stop !) The first time he did so I obeyed at once, thinking 
that I was rushing headlong over a precipice. His only reply 
to my startled inquiry, " Kumbe ? " (What's the matter ?) was 
a moan, " Ah ! bwana ! I wish I had never left Zanzibar." 
The first time he did this, I thanked him for the information. 
On the second occasion, I reminded him he had told me so 
before. Next time I tried to soothe him with the remark that 
I was glad he had, as I had thereby obtained the benefit of his 
services. On the fourth repetition, however, I heartily agreed 
with him, and suggested that the quicker he walked the sooner 
he would be back in his beloved island home. I was, however, 
always compelled to stop for him, for as soon as I disappeared 
from sight in the fog his cries became most pathetic ; but my 
remarks on the subject need not be chronicled. Shortly after 


this I also began to wish myself in Zanzibar. Instead of 
following round the rocks on the edge of the valley, I resolved 
on taking a short cut across the peat swamps. The walking 
was very bad, but the compass led us straight to a huge 
boulder, on which had been erected a small stone man, as a 
guide to the position of the camp. In five minutes we ought 
easily to have reached it, but as we did not see it, we shouted. 
There was no answer, so we went on again for another five 
minutes, and then for another, but we could see no sign of the 
camp. As we knew we were now below the right level, we 
returned on our tracks. I made excursions on either side, as 
far as the limit of shouting distance of the Zanzibari, but we 
got back to the stone man without finding any trace of the 
camp. By taking care and using the compass, we easily found 
our way to some heaps of ashes and layers of cut bushes, 
which marked the site of our encampment. It had clearly 
been deserted for some time. My companion was in despair, 
while I was greatly alarmed ; for I knew Omari would never 
have moved camp without permission, except under very 
extreme circumstances. I told the Askari he could come with 
me at my pace, or follow by himself at his own, and having 
found the trail followed as quickly as possible along it. It 
was not always easy to find, for the spongy peat soon closed 
up and obliterated the footprints. 

At length we reached the upper edge of the forests. We 
knew that if we once lost the trail, amid the woody shrubs on 
its border, it would be hopeless to find it again, so we took 
turns at going on hands and knees to track it beneath the 
bushes. It was not till close upon six o'clock that we heard 
the report of a rifle. We ran toward it, expecting to find it 
had been fired by a search party. To our relief we found it 
was a signal from camp. 

Omari came forward at once to welcome me, and express 
his regret at the illness of the men. He offered no explanation 
of the change of camping-ground, so I angrily asked for one. 
It then transpired that my cook, who had been taught writing 
in a mission school, had put his knowledge into practice by 
forging a letter in my name, telling the headman to go back, 
and that I would follow slowly afterwards. I found when I 
got back to the coast that the man was an adept in the art. 


for he had scored some successes, and made one failure, in 
forging cheques in Mombasa. But for Omari's good sense in 
stopping at the entrance to the forests, I should certainly have 
spent a night in the open, foodless, and in the pouring rain. 

My first impulse was to keep the men in camp here for 
a few days, while I returned to continue mapping and collecting 
in the higher zones. But the men were suffering so much from 
the exposure, that I did not think this fair to them. They 
nearly all had chilblains and mountain sickness ; some of them 
were badly frost-bitten, and there were two cases of haemorrhage 
from the lungs. This was so severe that the milder remedies 
proved useless, and it only yielded to hypodermic injections of 
ergot. I was so much alarmed at the condition of the men, 
that I felt bound to remove them as quickly as possible to a 
less Arctic climate. Though very loth to leave the mountain, 
I felt now justified in doing so, as I had accomplished the four 
main objects of my visit, which were to collect representatives 
of the fauna and flora of the different zones, determine the 
geological structure of the mountain, see if there were any 
glaciers upon it, and especially if these had had at any former 
time a greater extension than at present. 

Omari had already marked the position of the entrance to 
the path we had made in the ascent. By means of the cut 
bamboos and barked trees, we found our way back along it. 
As we had used up our food, we were very lightly laden, and 
two rapid marches brought us back again to our reserve camp 
on the sunny steppes of Laikipia. 

We had to rest there to nurse the invalids, for it was advis- 
able that every man should be fit for duty before we entered 
again into the land of the excitable Kikuyu. I had hoped for 
an excursion to Settima, but this would have taken nearly 
a month longer, and it would have involved another march 
through the bamboo forests. My time was nearly exhausted, 
and I doubted whether any of the men would follow me, while 
their recent hardships were so fresh in their memories ; so I 
reluctantly abandoned the plan, and promised the men that we 
would now return to Mombasa as directly as we could. 

In concluding this chapter on Mount Kenya, there are two 
points in connection with the mountaineering to which it may 
be useful to refer. The first is the warning that the snow and 


ice of the tropics are not quite the same as in the Alps. 
Comparing Kenya and Switzerland, on the former the ice is 
harder ; it is more often arranged in alternate layers, one hard 
and compact, and one friable and spongy ; and the snow is 
more frequently in the powdery or pulverulent condition. The 
present training of Swiss guides is not conducive to originality, 
though it makes them very safe in their own immediate dis- 
trict. If such guides be transferred to equatorial snowfields, 
formed under very different climatic conditions from their own, 
and there be allowed to apply unchecked the rule-of-thumb 
methods favoured by the regulations of the " Corporations of 
Guides " of the Alpine centres, disasters may easily happen. 

In the second place, mountain sickness is so intimately 
connected with the future of mountaineering, that any addi- 
tional evidence as to the liability to this malady at high 
altitudes in the tropics is of interest. Very opposite con- 
clusions are held regarding this malady, and somewhat extreme 
opinions have been expressed on both sides. According to one 
school, diminished pressure makes little appreciable difference. 
Thus Mr. Dent,^ for example, who is an eminent authority both 
on mountaineering and on medicine, thinks that it need not 
prevent men accomplishing the ascent of even the highest 
mountain on the globe. Whymper,''^ on the other hand, regards 
it more seriously. 

My own experience has been that exposure to lower 
atmospheric pressure means a diminished capacity for steady 
work. At comparatively moderate elevations the lightness of 
the atmosphere has an exhilarating influence, and acts as a 
decided stimulant. But, as with other stimulants, it is followed 
by reaction. 

It is not unless a stay is made for some time above the 
level of 10,000 or 12,000 feet, and hard work undertaken 
there, that the effects of the different atmospheric conditions 
become manifest. No one now notices any appreciable incon- 
venience at the height of 8000 feet in the Alps ; but Mr. 
Whymper maintains, from experiments in the Andes, that his 
powers of walking were less there than at lower levels. I did 

^ C. T. Dent, "Can Mount Everest be Ascended?" Xinetce?itk Century, October 
1892, vol. x.\xii. pp. 606-613. 

2 E. Whymper, Travels among Great Atides of the Equator, p. v. 


not attempt any such systematic tests as those of Mr. Whymper ; 
but I have no doubt whatever that at the end of a day's march 
on Laikipia, at about Whymper's elevation, my rifle weighed 
heavier than it did at a lower level ; I was also sooner stopped 
by shortness of breath when chasing butterflies, and both 
symptoms made me anxious as to the effect Kenya would 
have. Recollecting the experiences of Mr. Whymper and his 
trained guides at the height of 16,600 feet on Chimborazo, I 
began the ascent of Kenya thinking that, as I could not stay 
long enough to get used to the diminished pressure, this alone 
would prevent my rising much above the level of 15,000 or 
16,000 feet. I spent, however, five days above the height of 
13,000 feet, several times ascended above the level of 16,000 
feet, and twice above that of 17,000 feet. During this time 
anything like undue haste was followed by an attack of loss of 
breath, from which I recovered very slowly. I had a slight 
attack of mountain sickness one afternoon, due to over-fatigue. 
I began the day by chasing some mountain rats {Otomys 
irroratus), and afterwards, though tired by this exertion, carried 
what was for me a heavy burden up to the camp in the Teleki 
Valley. This was necessary, for I had only two men available, 
and as they were unwell I had to share the loads with them. 
On attempting to work in the afternoon, I felt bilious and had 
a singing in my ears. Every step upward required a distinct 
and painful effort. It was not a mere feeling of lassitude, but 
as if my legs were paralysed, and my left foot numbed. On 
the descent I experienced less inconvenience, and next day had 
fully recovered. 

I had no return of either symptom during the rest of my 
stay. On the contrary, to my surprise most of the time I felt 
unusually well. Probably the interest in the geology of the 
mountain, and the absence of the worries of camp work, 
account for my exuberant spirits. The only inconvenience I 
felt was great liability to fatigue. This was so marked above 
the level of 17,000 feet that I had to work in spurts; step- 
cutting was especially trying, and I could only do this for a 
few minutes at a time. The desire to lessen the toil of the 
ascent was so strong, that it was continually tempting to run 
risks, either personally or to the instruments, to effect some 
trivial saving in trouble. I felt this especially in my second 


ascent above the level of i 7,000 feet, when I was not so well 
as on the first. The difference was probably due to food. 
Then I had had breakfast of porridge and beans, and felt traces 
of indigestion and flatulence. On the former occasion I had had 
no solid food at all, for it was buried beneath a snowslip, and I 
had only taken some spoonfuls of Schweitzer's cocoatina. 

The only previous occasion when I had any feeling that 
could be attributed to mountain sickness was during an ascent 
of Gray's Peak, which, though the highest summit in the Rocky 
Mountains, is only 14,341 feet high. Owing to the break- 
down of our transport arrangements, my sister and I had a 
very fatiguing march of twelve hours, and spent twenty-eight 
hours without food, except some bread and meat which had 
gone bad. At the height of 13,000 feet my sister fainted, 
and I had a little trouble in getting her back to a deserted 
mining hut. After she had recovered I continued the ascent, 
but during the last 300 feet was so weak that I had to crawl 
part of the way on my hands and knees, and on the summit 
was too exhausted to put up my camera. 

I could never understand why I should have suffered so 
severely then, while later on, at elevations only a trifle less (as 
on Pike's Peak and the Tetons), I was only bothered by a 
feeling of laziness and depression. But when, six months later, 
Mr. Whymper's account of his illness on Chimborazo was 
published, I was so struck by the resemblance between our 
symptoms and his, that I felt bound to accept the illness from 
which my sister and I then suffered as true mountain sickness. 

In a paper read before the Alpine Club I suggested that 
its occurrence at this comparatively moderate elevation was due 
to lack of food. The explanation never quite satisfied me. 
Professor Roy,^ however, has recently explained Mr. Whymper's 
illness as due to the fact that some of his tinned meat had gone 
bad. The same explanation is applicable in our case. The 
only food we had been able to get in Georgetown was some 
steak and bread, which we had packed up in the form of sand- 
wiches. On the way up the meat went bad, and of course also 
spoilt the bread. We nevertheless ate a little, and our sub- 
sequent indisposition was therefore probably due to bad food, 
instead of to lack of food. 

^ C. S. Roy, " Mountain Sickness," Sci. Prog. vol. iii. (1895), p. 92. 


The effect of exposure at high altitudes on Zanzibari is 
more important than that upon Europeans in regard to the 
prospects of future work upon the mountain. The men left in 
the camp above the forests suffered from biliousness, but I had 
no opportunity of watching them. Fundi Mabruk at the 
height of 15,400 feet showed all the symptoms of genuine 
mountain sickness, and suffered from a severe headache for 
days afterwards. He frequently told me during the return 
march what a funny feeling came over him ; but this, with the 
impossibility of boiling his beans, and the freezing of the water 
at night, he attributed to the witchcraft which possessed the 
mountain. The other men, however, did not remain long 
above 11,200 feet, and any symptoms of mountain sickness 
were masked by the ordinary results of cold, exposure, and 
imperfectly cooked food. But if the effects of the low pressure 
had been very marked, they would probably have been recog- 
nisable. It is therefore likely that the men might have 
reached a much higher elevation if they had been properly 
clothed and fed ; while as far as I personally was concerned, 
I felt no doubt that I could have ascended at least another 
two thousand feet before being stopped by the rarefaction of 
the air. 



" Kurudi nyuma si kazi " 
(Returning is not work). 

Zanzibari Prove^-b. 

After the decision to abandon the projected visit to Settima 
we all felt that we were well on the " home trail," and were not 
in the mood to brook delay ; so, when we reached the borders 
of the Kikuyu country, our request to enter it was somewhat 
peremptory. We camped at a place called Karati, beside a 
swamp, about a couple of miles from our former camp. Our 
" blood-brothers " soon arrived with presents of food for me. 
They camic at once to show me that their ulcers had entirely 
healed, and to express their gratitude. They promised food 
for next day. Enough came in to enable us to march south- 
ward on the morrow ; but a fresh outbreak of illness delayed us. 
The return to the damp cold mists of the forests of Kikuyu 
brought back the old lung troubles. For a couple of days the 
lives of two of the porters hung in the balance, and the time 
was wasted to me, as constant attendance on the men pre- 
vented collecting. Fortunately they recovered, but the next 
few marches had to be taken easily. 

As soon as we were ready to resume our journey we 
arranged for permission to cross the country of our friends. 
They insisted on certain religious rites being performed. They 
said that if we entered their shambas without blessing our way 
with blood, their crops would yield only empty grain ; but if 
we went as friends, after the proper ceremonials, then we should 
be a blessing and not a curse, for the sun would shine upon 
their shambas, and these would yield abundant harvests. I 


replied that I should be most delighted to do anything that 
would secure them a gleam of sunshine, and I only hoped it 
would come soon. I had never yet seen the sun while in their 
country, as on both previous occasions the land had been 
wrapped till midday in a kind of Scotch mist ; in the afternoon 
this changed into a drizzle, or rose to form dense, dark clouds. 
A determination of latitude and longitude in this country 
would have been quite impossible, even if I had had the in- 
struments, as not once would the weather have permitted an 
astronomical observation. 

I therefore readily consented to buy a goat, which was to 
be sacrificed according to Kikuyu rites, and the blood to be 
sprinkled over the path before us as we entered the country. 
It was arranged that we should start on Monday loth July. 
At daybreak we struck camp, and crossed the swamp to the 
south ; it was an especially vile one, but in compensation it had 
helped to form a defence of our camp. We crossed two ridges 
of black lava (andesite), and started on a south-south-east 
course toward a rounded tree -covered hill named Geitaita. 
After an hour's march we reached a small brook — the Luiji 
Reru — which formed the frontier of the inhabited district. 
Here we were met by the old chief, Nathan Nyuki, and a 
number of elders, at the head of a formidable crowd of warriors. 
The chief said we must camp here, so that the rites might be 
duly observed. This I flatly declined to do. He said they 
had no goat, and must send to a far distant place to fetch one, 
as they dared keep none themselves for fear of the Masai. I 
pointed to some fresh goat-tracks beside the path, and asked if 
they were made by elephants or crocodiles. He seemed not in 
the slightest degree abashed at being thus caught in a barefaced 
lie, but said a goat would soon arrive, and that we must wait 
till it did. A man in the crowd had a reed-rat or Aulacodus, 
much like those I had seen at Ngatana, but smaller and with 
softer, shorter hair. I purchased it for an empty meat tin 
and two cartridge cases, killed, and skinned it. As the goat 
still did not come, I shot and skinned some birds. At intervals 
of half an hour I went over to the chief and asked for the goat. 
It was always " coming soon." At three o'clock the chief sent 
over to say that it was getting late, and I had better camp. I at 
once went to Nathan Nyuki, pretending to be in a furious rage. 


It was my rule never to show any feeling of excitement or emo- 
tion before natives. In the stormiest shauris with the Masai I 
always affected an air of the most stolid indifference as to the 
result, and supreme contempt for them. As I could not show 
self-possession by smoking, I generally wrote or sketched during 
the conference while others were speaking, and sharpened my 
pencil or knife while I was speaking myself. On this occasion 
I made an exception. It was very obvious that in this republic 
of Kikuyuland there were two parties, one of which was friendly 
to us, while the other was opposed to our passage through 
the country. It was necessary to overawe the latter section of 
the natives. I pretended to fly into a violent rage, paced up 
and down in front of the chief and his elders, called them liars, 
told them they were trying to play the fool with us, and warned 
them that this would not do. I fixed a meat tin with a hole in 
the bottom on a stick, filled it with sand, and said that when 
all the sand had run through we should cross the bridge and 
continue our march to the south. I said I could find my way 
without their guidance, and would fight if necessary. I added 
that if they compelled me to do this, I should, of course, burn 
their villages and raid their cattle. In very few minutes our 
two blood-brothers, both of them sons of the old chief, returned 
with a goat. I believe they had been waiting in the valley on 
the other side of the next ridge. 

The goat was killed, the stomach cut out, and filled with 
blood, which was mixed with the contents of the stomach. 
Nathan Nyuki and the elders stood on the bridge and sang a 
kind of chant. The chief then said that he was ready to lead 
us, while the warriors formed up in two lines, one on each side 
of the path, on the opposite bank. I explained that I also 
had a religion, and to this religion I was devotedly attached. 
The first article in its creed was never to put your head into 
a lion's mouth ; the second was always to get out of the way 
when an elephant was coming to walk over you ; the third was 
never to place a line of your own men between two lines of 
spearsmen. I pointed out that according to their arrangements 
this last article would be infringed, and that my religion must 
be respected as well as theirs. So the warriors were all sent 
ahead, the chief and I coming between them and the porters, 
who kept well together, ready for emergencies. The bridge 

192 THE RETURN MARCH part ii 

was of the type known in America as " corduroy," except that 
sheaves of rushes, bamboos, and banana stems were used instead 
of logs. These were built into a causeway, the stems being 
placed parallel to the course of the stream, so that the water 
percolates through the interspaces. We crossed the bridge, the 
chief sprinkling the blood and the contents of the stomach upon 
it, and chanting his benedictions. We climbed the ridge and 
then descended to another stream, the Guaso Uini. Here we 
entered the shambas, the extent of which surprised us. Had 
the natives wished they could have smothered us with food in 
an hour, instead of keeping us for three days, as they did on 
our first visit. There were also several herds of goats browsing 
on the slopes, a fact upon which I made some remarks to 
Nathan Nyuki. From a plateau to the west of Geitaita the 
chief pointed out to me the hills of Maranga, the point at 
which we wished to leave the Kikuyu country. I took their 
bearings through a prismatic compass, and replied at once 
that he was a wicked old man to tell such lies, for he knew 
it was nothing of the sort. I only suspected this from his 
manner, but he was so startled that he at once pointed out 
some other hills, and said they zvere Maranga. I took their 
bearings through the prismatic compass, and verified the infor- 
mation by making another elder tell me the name of the 
hills. From this point I could see the valley of a broad river 
— the Ilyaini — flowing south-eastward toward the Tana. I 
thus felt independent of my Kikuyu guides. We marched on 
till a little before sunset, when I resolved to camp. The chief 
objected, and urged me to come on farther. We were now 
approaching a tract of country covered by the woody shrubs 
which grow up whenever forests are cleared. Once entangled 
in the narrow tortuous paths through this shrub jungle, we 
were at the mercy of the natives. So I chose a suitable place 
for camp, and explained to Nathan Nyuki that the fourth 
article in my religion was never to march after dark through 
jungle, when there were Kikuyu in the neighbourhood. The 
chief said I must not camp in the place I had chosen, but must 
move to another site a few hundred yards away. There 
seemed no especial reason for this, so I flatly declined to obey. 
The chief and his elders sat in a circle round me and grumbled 
as we watched the men pitch camp. Then they went away. 


lighted a fire half a mile from camp, and had a great shauri. 
My blood-brother lyutha, who was now a firm friend, said he 
did not know what would happen, for though his father was 
friendly, all the neighbouring chiefs were opposed to letting us 
through their country. He warned us to be careful. He told 
me that the leader of the malcontents was a chief from a hill 
named Tuntum, which we should see next day, some distance 
nearer the sunset than we should pass. After the shauri, 
Nathan Nyuki and several others came over to say that the 
people did not want us to go on, and that there was to be 
another shauri next day. We were, therefore, to stay in our 
present camp till this was over. I was busy at the time and 
said I could not be bothered to discuss the matter then, but 
that they were to return at daybreak. 

The natives kept up a tremendous hubbub round their fires 
all night. Several times some drunken warriors came near us, 
to execute a wild dance near our fires. This was bad manners. 
No native ought to approach a camp at night, except in a 
case of urgency. So when another drunken Kikuyu came 
near and prepared to dance, I welcomed him with a little 
dust shot, fired with half a charge of powder. He returned to 
his friends more quickly than he came, and we had no more 
dancers that night. 

Some of the hostile chiefs came into camp at daybreak, 
and said we were not to go on to Maranga, and must not move 
till next day. I said I had no objection to the first, but was 
not going to obey the second. If they preferred it we would 
go on to Tuntum, as they grew nice pumpkins and fat sheep 
there. This was the village of the leader of the opposition, 
who was rather staggered by the suggestion, while the chiefs of 
the villages along the proper line of march seemed very pleased. 
This confirmed me in my opinion that we had nothing to 
fear from the people, and that they were really afraid wc 
should do mischief to them. It was, therefore, only necessary 
to be very firm in resisting attempts to delay us, and to let the 
natives see that we had no intention of robbing them. The 
elders withdrew for a few minutes' consultation, and returned 
to say that we must not strike camp without permission. Camp 
was accordingly struck at once, and we waited to see what 
would happen. I thought that if we were to be attacked it 


194 THE RETURN MARCH part ii 

was best that the attack should be dehvered before we were 
on the march. The interpreter, Ramathan, knelt before me, 
kissed my hand, and begged and prayed that we would not go 
on. Omari, however, was as angry as I was, and equally con- 
vinced that with such a fickle treacherous tribe as the Kikuyu 
the safest course was to put on an attitude of determined 
indifference, and bluff our way through. As the old chief 
Nathan Nyuki did not come, after we had waited about a 
quarter of an hour for him, I gave the order to lift up the 
loads and march. Our two guides protested on the ground 
that they wanted to go home and get food. I promised 
to supply them with everything necessary, and said they 
must stay with us. We walked on to the ridge, above the old 
lake basin beside which we had camped. We skirted some 
dense jungle, which I declined to enter at any price, and crossed 
the shambas. There were several furious discussions, con- 
ducted with all the passion of an odium theologicuni, for it was 
against the religion of the natives for us to pass through their 
fields, and it was against mine to go through the shrub jungle. 
I compensated the elder of the nearest village with ten strings 
of beads, worth three strings a penny, to cover any damage we 
might do to his crops. As this sacrifice appeased the native 
conscience, the protests ceased. Two last efforts were made to 
stop us. A message came upbraiding me for leaving without 
bidding farewell to Nathan Nyuki, and saying that as he was 
an old man he could not get up till late. The only reply was 
the regret that Nathan Nyuki should be so drunk, and the 
suggestion that next time a white man honoured the country 
with his presence, the chief should go to bed in proper time. 
The final attempt was equally ineffectual, though I was more 
sorry to have to resist it. At one place on the path they had 
collected as many of the lame and sick of the district as they 
could hastily assemble. They begged me to cure them. Most 
of the fifty invalids had bad ulcers, and to have dressed all 
these would have taken a day, while a single dressing would 
have done but little good. I therefore had to break another 
of my chief rules, which was never to refuse medicine 
while I had any to spare. This, however, was such a 
manifest imposition that I declined to look at any of the 
invalids. I was especially sorry not to be able to help some 


men who were suffering from inflamed eyes. But I could not 

We marched all day along the ridge that formed the water- 
parting between the rivers that drain the southern slopes of 
Kenya, and those to the west that form the main source of 
the Tana. The streams to our left flowed into the Ilyaini, 
and those to the west into the Thegana. Our course was in 
the main to the south-south-east. Though the trail ran up as 
well as down, we descended 400 feet during the day. We left 
the hill of Tuntum about three or four miles to the west. The 
leader of the Kikuyu opposition, who lived there, looked very 
much relieved when he saw we did not take the path that 
led to it. He drank a deep draught of " pombe," rolled off in a 
state of drunken jollity, and troubled us no more. 

We camped on a piece of open heath country in Kithunguli, 
at the height of 5440 feet. At the village close by, the people 
were all more or less drunk. Some natives came in for 
medicine, amongst them a man ill with smallpox. The 
moment my men saw him they fled, shouting, " Ndui, ndui " 
(Smallpox). I seized the man by the neck and ran him out 
of camp. With the aid of a porter named Stahabu, who knew 
some Kikuyu, and was so much pockmarked that he was also 
safe, I explained the difference between in-patients and out- 
patients. The native was told that he was one of the latter, and 
that if he tried to return to camp he would be shot ; if he kept 
away, I promised to come out and see him again next morning 
before we started. The rest of the afternoon was occupied in 
a similar series of evictions. The Kikuyu were all intoxicated, 
and more than usually quarrelsome. The warriors came rolling 
into camp, shouting unintelligible cries, and flourishing their 
" simes," heavy double-edged, somewhat lance-shaped, swords. 
If one of the men had laid hands on them, he would probably 
have been cut down at once. Fortunately they were so much 
in awe of me that I easily ejected them and ran them out of 
camp. A noisy crowd of women and children were got rid off 
with little effort. I went towards them to speak to them, and 
as I did so took off my pith helmet. Apparently they thought 
I was taking off part of my head, for the whole crowd fled 
with a shriek of terror. The natives made several of the usual 
attempts to snatch goods and bolt with them, but the people 

196 THE RETURN MARCH part ii 

were so drunk that they were easily frustrated. Next day, as 
we got farther from the Masai frontier, the natives became 
more friendly. We continued over undulating uplands, com- 
posed of volcanic rocks. The path led by a pretty waterfall, 
a pond named Kitui, and then the site of a Suahili camping- 
place named Chanjega. This was situated beside a cluster of 
trees which the men called " niamba." They probably belong to 
a species of dragon-tree or Dracmia^ having small hard fruits, 
of the consistency of vegetable ivory. 

We camped that night at Thiriati, on the southern frontier of 
the district of Kornu. Here we said farewell to our two guides. 
They had reached the southern borders of their own country, and 
dared go no farther. They said the chief of the next district 
would do his best to send us back ; but they hoped we should 
get through. I gave them presents and thanked them for their 
help. We had become fast friends. The elder brother lyutha 
was very intelligent ; he knew the country well, and gave me 
much information, which proved to be reliable whenever I could 
check it. He had had a very trying time while with us, but 
had never once lost his temper. What with the hostile chiefs 
on one side, and me on the other, he was rather between the 
devil and the deep sea, and I am not sure how he would have 
applied the simile. We each bluffed and abused him in turn ; 
but he sat through it with a quiet smile on his face, as if he 
knew all would come right in the end. He smiled just as 
serenely when we were chatting together in the evening over 
the camp fire, as when my clumsy fingers were dressing the 
ulcers on his legs, or when I was holding my revolver to his 
head during a threatened attack. I parted from him with 
greater regret than I did from any other up-country native. 
As a tribe the Kikuyu are probably as treacherous and fickle 
as they are represented to be ; but lyutha never forgot he 
was my blood -brother, or the duties which that relationship 
entailed. He acted all through with splendid devotion, which 
amply atoned for the scores of lies he told when under the 
influence of the counsel of hostile chiefs. 

Next day a deluge of rain made the passage of the river 
Karati very troublesome. We pressed on, however, to Kithu- 
Uri, the village of the chief of the district of Maranga. Having 
heard of our approach, he had sent two men to meet us and to 


spy out who we were. They could not conceal their surprise 
and contempt at the smallness of our force. The natives, how- 
ever, were friendly and interested ; they stood in crowds by the 
path to watch us pass. They had some cattle, the first we 
had seen since leaving Lake Naivasha nearly three months 
before. The abundance of pumpkins, and the use of small 
stools and poisoned arrows, indicated intercourse with the 
Wa-kamba. The chief, however, at first refused to see me, and 
his people informed us that he was very angry, for he had a 
devil inside him. When I succeeded in gaining an interview, 
he flatly refused me permission to proceed, as he declared that 
though white men had faces that smiled like the sky, they 
were bad inside. As no white man had previously entered his 
country, though four had passed not far from the frontier, this 
was a rash generalisation ; but at least the latter part of the 
verdict was true in my case, as I was then very bad inside. 
Luckily for us, however, the chief was no better. His " devil " 
was lodged in a tooth, from which it was exorcised by an 
injection of cocaine. The chief looked pleased, but went away 
without the slightest expression of gratitude for the eviction of 
the agent of the evil one. 

Our camp here was on the edge of an escarpment at the 
height of 3900 feet. At the foot of the steep slope to the 
south were some meadows with only a stream — the Mothambi 
— between them and the steppes of the Tana. In the meadows 
we saw a great number of men engaged in a war-dance, and 
movements that appeared to be a rather complicated military 
game. They were too far away for me to see the details ; and 
as I did not know what the assembly indicated, I did not care 
to go far from camp. 

The hyenas here were very impudent. Two of them 
came into camp during the night and each went away with 
a mouthful of donkey. The excitement over this, and an 
attack of fever from which I was suffering, destroyed my night's 
rest, and increased my longing for the peace of the uninhabited 
plains to the south. 

When the chief came down in the morning to report that 
he was better, I urged him to allow us to go at once. He 
first declined, but when I said that if I had to go back the 
devil would go back too, he changed his mind. He begged 


for medicine that would protect his people from the Masai. I 
said that to do this his people need only use more sand and 
less pombe. With the sand they could keep their spears 
and simes sharp, while if they gave up pombe they would be 
brave and strong, and would not quarrel amongst themselves. 
The chief's entreaties ceased, not, I fear, because he was satisfied 
with my advice, but because my interpreter gave him some 
scraps of paper as a present from me of anti-Masai medicine. 
I was always very particular to disclaim any magical power, as, 
although a little simple imposition would have helped me forward, 
it might have hindered those who followed me. But on this 
morning the attack of fever had left me so limp, that I could 
not keep sufficiently alert to prevent an infringement of this 

The chief gave me a sheep, which was killed according to 
the native custom, and blood poured into the ground. After 
this we were free to depart ; we hastened down the hill, and 
across the meadows. We forded the Mothambi, on the banks 
of which grew some wild date-palms {JPJiocnix), and we worked 
round the eastern slope of the ridge of Changabuba. This 
consists of gneiss, the first non-volcanic rock (excluding gravels, 
sands, and lake deposits) which we had seen since entering 
the Kapte plains west of Machakos, three months before. 

A ford crossed the Tana, due south of our camp at Kithu-Uri, 
but it was said to be impracticable owing to the swollen state of 
the river. We were told of another ford, two days' journey farther 
east, which would be' passable before the other ; but we were 
assured that even this was now so flooded, that no one would 
go as our guide. We found the ford and resolved to force it. 
The river was as broad as the Thames at Richmond, and the 
stream was swift. The water came up to my shoulders, and 
the current was so powerful that only a few of the men 
were strong enough to carry loads across. A school of 
hippopotami was playing in the pool above the ford, and 
added to the excitement by occasionally charging to within 
twenty yards of us. A sad accident marred our pleasure at 
effecting the passage. All the loads were over except two or 
three, and I was dressing on the bank, when a cry from Omari 
of" Kretasi, kretasi " (The papers, the papers) called my attention 
to the fact that the bundle of Kenya plants had been dropped 


into the river. I sprang in at once, and after half an hour's 
search Omari found the heavy pressing-case wedged between 
two rocks in the bed of the river. Half the plants were ruined, 
but I was lucky to have saved the rest. A load of ammunition 
met with the same mishap, but now that the Tana flowed 
between us and the Kikuyu, this was of little importance. We 
ought to have been thankful for having effected the passage 
with so little loss of time, since both Peters and Dundas wasted 
weeks beside the river in this district. Peters marched for a 
month beside it in the search for an easy passage, and, after 
vainly trying to build a bridge or a raft, had to abandon the 
attempt to cross the river. We ought not to have risked the 
ford with the Tana in flood ; but I had no time to lose, for to 
be back in London at the appointed date, it was necessary to 
catch a steamer announced to leave Mombasa on the 25 th of 

We spent the rest of the day beside the river, drying the 
soaked plants, a work which had to be continued all night and 
late into the following day. As soon as the plants were ready 
we marched southward across the barra for a jagged hill-range, 
the name of which we afterwards found to be Voroni. The 
stream beds were all dry, and we began to fear a waterless 
camp, when we suddenly came to the bank of a broad rapid 
river, which ultimately proved to be the Thika-thika. This 
was recorded by Krapf on native information in 1848, but was 
not seen by any European till Peters crossed it at its junction 
with the Tana in 1889. Nothing was known about its 
course. On Peters' map it is called the Dika, and is marked 
as flowing due east and west, whereas we found it flowing north 
and south. I resolved therefore to follow it, in order to settle 
whence it came, and because I hoped thus to collect some 
geological evidence, which the troubles with the natives had 
made impossible when in the Kikuyu country. 

The next few days were the most delightful in the whole 
expedition. There were no natives to worry us, and I could 
again make afternoon excursions alone. The scenery was charm- 
ing, the air cool, and the rain fell only at night. Game was 
abundant and tame ; hence, though our store of food was nearly 
exhausted, I was able to supplement it with zebra meat. The 
river, moreover, acted not only as guide, but supplied us with 


both water and food, for fish of good size and fine flavour were 
abundant in it. This march reminded me of Emerson's lines — 

" The water-courses were my guide, 
The falling waters led me, 
The foodful waters fed me." 

The river came due from the south, and I feared that if 
we crossed to the east side, it might suddenly turn to the west 
and leave us. To avoid losing it, we therefore kept along its 
western or left bank. It increased in volume, and finally bent 
abruptly to the west-north-west round the ridge of Voroni. I 
climbed this ridge and scrambled along its top to examine the 
country before us. The main result was a scare from a rhino- 
ceros. On my return in the dusk I had taken the wrong ridge. 




Fig. 6. 

-Diagrams showing Relations of Head Streams of the Tana and Athi, 
after (a) Ravenstein, (b) von Hohnel, and [c) the Author. 

and when hastening down it to get back to the right one, I almost 
ran against a rhinoceros. It charged, and I had to climb the 
rocks again ; the result was that I lost myself in the acacia 
scrub, and did not reach the camp till long after dark. 

After passing Voroni the river-bed changed from gneiss to 
lava, and the country rose in terraces, over which the river 
plunged in a series of rapids and one grand waterfall about 
80 feet high. Then we entered a deep valley, up which 
we marched until it contracted to a gorge, at the head of which 
was a series of waterfalls, grander and more picturesque than the 
lower ones. We climbed the wall to the plateau and found 
we had now reached the " Kapte " plains, the vast lava prairie 
that we had crossed on the journey between Machakos and 
Fort Smith. The hill of Chanjavi rose to the south, and 
the whole course of the river was now quite plain to me. 


We therefore tried to cross it, but found it impracticable. As 
is so often the case with African rivers, they become larger instead 
of smaller when traced towards their source. In the barren 
gneiss desert of its lower course, this river loses so much water 
by absorption in the sandy soil that, where we first met it, its 
volume is probably less than a third of that of the point where 
we tried to cross. Omari, Fundi, and I therefore went ahead to 
search for a ford. Instead of this we found a party of Kikuyu, or 
rather they found us, in a way that was not to our credit. They 
saw us first, and hid in the bush in two parties. We walked 
straight into the ambush before we saw them. It was gross 
carelessness, and we felt as much ashamed as we were alarmed. 
We held up tufts of grass as signs of friendship, and called out 
" Moratta, moratta " (Friends). When they saw we were alone 
and meant no mischief, they relaxed their bows, consented to a 
shauri, and the leader came forward to shake hands. They were 
a party of Kikuyu out hippopotamus-hunting, as all their crops 
had been destroyed by the Masai. The great raid, the pre- 
parations for which I had seen at Naivasha, had been only too 
successful. An army of El-Moran had burst upon the district 
of Igeti, and cleared it like a hurricane. The villages had been 
burnt, the cattle seized, the crops destroyed, and all the people 
massacred, except those who escaped to the woods and the Kapte 
plains. While we were waiting for the porters, the leader of the 
party told us the sickening story, his men sitting round sobbing, I 
gave them some wire, and they guided us to a place where some 
islands had been connected with both banks by some felled 
treses. While the porters were crossing this, I shot a hippo- 
potamus for the natives, and some birds for a small boy who 
was trying in vain to kill them with a bow and arrow. I 
further increased my reputation with these friendly Kikuyu 
by challenging their best fire-maker to see who could make 
fire most quickly with a fire-stick. By slipping the head of a 
lucifer match into the hole in which the stick was twirled, I 
won easily. 

When my men had crossed the river we marched south- 
ward, and traversed the almost imperceptible divide between 
the basins of the Tana and the Sabaki. Dusk found us at the 
edge of the Athi gorge. Just after sunset we were charged by 
a rhinoceros ; I fired, and the dull thud of the bullet and the 


animal's grunt of pain told that I had hit it, but in the dark we 
could not follow it. 

Later in the evening, while fishing by firelight in the Athi, 
I caught something which behaved very differently from any 
fish that I had ever angled. It was a heavy mass, which 
yielded gradually when I pulled it. A dark body appeared at 
the water's edge, and I thought it was a young crocodile. I 
approached it cautiously, keeping its head covered with my 
revolver, and found that it was a large water -turtle {Sterno- 
thcBvus sinuatus. Smith). The fish-hook was so deeply em- 
bedded in its beak that I could not extract it. Yet the animal 
lived to reach England, where it died a few days after its 

The passage of the Athi next morning was most fatiguing. 
The ford was broad and deep, and the water bitterly cold. 
Most of the work fell as usual on Omari, and both of us had 
renewed attacks of fever. We took huge doses of quinine, 
drank hot tea, and then started at the head of the men for the 
mountains of Ukamba. The fever was most unfortunate, for 
we had used up our last food, and I had to go on ahead to try 
to shoot some antelope. We saw some game, but my hand 
was too unsteady ; both shots fired missed so badly that I 
would not try again. 

We passed the southern end of Chanjavi, from which we 
were delighted to see our goal, the mountains of Ukamba, and 
our old friends the ridge of Lokenya and the sharp cone of 
Malili, The smoke of some shamba fires cheered us with the 
signs of the proximity of natives, whom we expected would 
be friendly, and have abundant food. They did not, however, 
at first prove very amiable. When we realised, late in the 
afternoon, that we should not get off the lava plains that day, 
Fundi and I went ahead to find water. We failed in this, but 
we discovered a number of natives who were hiding in the long 
grass. They would not come to us when we called to them, 
and as they seemed inclined to cut us off from the porters, we 
thought it advisable to stop till these came up. By the time 
the caravan arrived it was dark, and we had to camp where we 
were, though it was very cold, and we had neither firewood nor 
water. About an hour later a fire broke out to windward, and 
a long line of flame swept down upon us. By its glare we saw 


some natives following behind it. We had, of course, taken the 
precaution of firing the grass before we camped, so that the 
fire swept past us without any worse consequences than irritated 
throats and aching eyes. As we had no water to relieve either 
throat or eye we passed a dismal night. The men were so 
uncomfortable that at three in the morning they asked if we 
could not start at once. We did so, and marched until at eight 
we reached a brook ; beside it we rested to quench our thirst, 
and wash. Soon afterwards we reached a Wa-kamba village, and 
I asked for a guide. Two men came, but they soon quarrelled 
over the way, and I had to dismiss them both. We left them 
fighting, and marched on toward the mouth of the main valley, 
which was reached at two. Some women came down to sell 
us pumpkins, and told us that we were in the valley of Kava- 
luki, and that if we walked on at once we could reach Machakos 
before dark. The elders came in, and were at first in a great 
rage, as we ought not to have bought food without first ex- 
changing presents with the chief. This was a fair cause of 
complaint, so I did my best to apologise, explaining how 
hungry we were. My soft answer pacified the chief, and he 
offered to lend me a guide to take me to Machakos. The 
men were all too tired to go any farther, for they had had no 
breakfast, and had not my own prospect of a batch of letters 
to lure them on. So leaving Omari to follow with them next 
day, with only a couple of Wa-kamba I started over the hills for 

We crossed the river, ascended the opposite slope, and 
entered an upland valley that had been converted into a great 
sugar-cane plantation by an elaborate series of dams and 
irrigation channels. One of the guides — an old man — would 
not, or could not, keep up during the ascent, so I sent him back. 
Just at sunset we reached the summit of the final ridge at the 
height of 5740 feet, or 1300 feet above our camp in the Kava- 
luki valley. I could not see the station, and fearing we should 
not get there that night we started to run. Twice the guide 
took the wrong path, and we had to return. At last we saw 
some shepherds sitting round a fire on the hillside, and I asked 
one of them to act as guide. He pointed to the stars as a 
sign that it was late, and then led off in a canter. This we 
kept up till I had twice fallen over the ditches which serve both 

204 THE RETURN MARCH part ii 

for irrigation and as boundary marks. After this I said we 
would walk. At length we reached the valley, and began the 
ascent of the slope to the plateau on which the station is 
situated. When we approached it, the guides held back. I 
cautiously approached, shouting " Mzungu " (European), and 
keeping sufficiently down the slope to be out of range of 
fire from the sentry -post. The sentries were startled and 
puzzled. Presently I called out in Kisuahili that I was a 
European and wanted Bwana Ainsworth. The excited sentries 
discussed the unusual situation, the guard was called out, and 
finally I was told to approach. I walked up into the glare of 
the firelight, and the guard met me. My guides then came up, 
and we walked round to the entrance to the fort, where I 
had a hearty welcome from Mr. Ainsworth. He was not 
used to visitors arriving alone at night, and my appearance had 
created a scare. 

At Machakos I enjoyed two welcome days of rest, reading 
letters and newspapers, and having long conversations with 
Ainsworth about the country and its people. His administra- 
tion seemed to me more successful than that at any other of 
the Company's stations. When Ainsworth took over the dis- 
trict there was war between the garrison and the people of the 
hills, which I had crossed with only a Wa-kamba guide. He 
succeeded in making peace, and getting into the most friendly 
relations with the natives. The old chiefs were constant visitors 
to the fort, and frequently sent in a present of a ton of food. 
The people were rapidly acquiring a taste for European goods, 
and learning to work, in order to be able to earn them. The old 
Suahili garrison was being replaced by Wa-kamba, and Ainsworth 
was organising a postal service of runners to carry the mails to 
and from Tzavo, which he expected to prove both quicker and 

The neighbourhood of Machakos certainly offers better 
prospects of European colonisation than any other district 
that I saw in East Africa. In the early days of the history 
of this station the Wa-kamba acquired the reputation of 
being hostile, indolent, and treacherous. Ainsworth's adminis- 
tration has shown that, when properly handled, they are 
friendly, industrious, and faithful. They only need training 
and protection from the Masai to enable them to make their 


country one of the richest and most fertile in British East 

At Machakos we were back again on a known road, and 
my work was done. I resolved, however, on as much variety 
as possible, and so left the ordinary track and marched south- 
ward across the Kapte plains. We entered the Iveti Moun- 
tains near the village of Wa-kilome, the residence of the chief 
of the district of Maka. The chief was a fine old warrior 
named Kiketi — the Suahili name of a variety of large blue 
beads. On our way across the Kapte plains we encoun- 
tered a small raiding party of Masai. As we were in 
dense bush we met suddenly, and neither party could tell the 
strength of the other. The one thing Zanzibari apparently 
cannot do under such circumstances is to stand still. They 
like to run, and do not seem to care much which way they go. 
So we charged through the bush and the Masai fled. The 
party was a very small one, and was apparently trying to 
sneak into the district of luni to steal sheep. So our blood- 
less victory was nothing to be proud of. However, we could 
not be sure that the Masai were not the scouts of a larger 
party, and as Omari and several men were behind with our 
sheep, we spent an anxious half- hour till their safety was 

Two days later we reached the Uganda road again at 
Nzaoi, and along this we rushed back to Tzavo. The rain- 
less season had now commenced ; the swamps through which 
we had waded on the way up were now dry ; water-holes were 
empty ; and we had to march for hours over the hot smoking 
embers of prairie fires, or rush occasionally through belts of 

We were now well on the home trail, and the men needed 
no encouragement to quicken their pace. We usually marched 
from midnight or three in the morning till eight, and then from 
two till five. The stage from Nzaoi to Tzavo occupied only 
six days, instead of the usual ten. 

At Kibwezi I received a warm welcome from Dr. Charters 
and his colleagues, and a budget of bad news. Mr. Astor 
Chanler had failed to reach Basso Narok, and was in difficulties. 
A relief caravan had been sent for, and though we did not 
then know it, his accomplished companion Lieut, von Hohnel 

2o6 THE RETURN MARCH part ii 

had been seriously injured by a rhinoceros, and was on his 
way back to Kibwezi for medical treatment. Mr. Dick, with 
whom I had at one time arranged to travel up to Baringo, had 
gone off to trade with the Wa-kamba, and had died in a camp 
beside the Athi, a few days' march away. Edmonds, the last 
man I had seen when leaving the coast, and who had come 
with me for two days to nurse me on the way, had also fallen 
a victim to fever. Watson and Charters had both been so 
seriously ill at Kibwezi that their faith in its healthiness was 
shaken. A message had just come up from Mombasa to 
announce a terrible loss to East Africa — the death of Sir 
William Mackinnon. 

Dr. Charters showed me over the farm, and I was sorry to 
see that the experiments with the grains and vines had not been 
very successful. American maize had answered fairly well, but 
wheat, oats, and barley had failed. The " quick -growing" 
Russian maize had not grown at all. In a country with such 
rapid variations between the extremes of excessive rain and 
drought, the quickly-ripening cereals are the most promising, 
and the failure of this experiment was especially disappointing. 

My kind hosts here were not surprised that I had had trouble 
at Naivasha, for two Masai boys then living at Kibwezi had 
told them that an attack had been planned on the powerful 
caravan of the Railway Survey. The attack was only aban- 
doned when it was found that the expedition included four 
Europeans and an escort of Sikhs. 

After leaving Kibwezi a double march or " telekeza " took 
us to the Kambu river. We left this at midnight, and at 
dawn reached a hill known as Ndawi ; shortly afterwards we 
passed our old camp at Mtoto wa Ande. Here a deep well 
had been sunk ; but it was quite dry. It never had contained 
a drop of water, and it looked as if it never would, except 
when the stream beside it was flooded. So on the principle 
of the Englishman in Madrid, who poured some water that was 
offered him into the Mazanares, as the river needed it more 
than he did, I emptied my flask into the well as a christening. 
But the proceeding was not purely ceremonial. My boy had 
forgotten to boil the water, so, after the few hours' exposure in 
the sun, it was stinking. 

At this point we entered the splendid road then being 


made by Mr. George Wilson, at the expense of the late Sir 
William Mackinnon. The narrow winding path by which we 
had previously traversed the Motito Wakalia, or " Five Mile 
Jungle," was replaced by a broad, straight, smooth track. I 
revelled in the luxury of walking on a good road once more, so 
went ahead, and marched to Kinani, if Mr. Wilson's mile-posts 
are to be trusted, at the pace of four and a half miles an hour. 

At Kinani I found Major Smith and Mr. Martin with a 
powerful caravan bound for Uganda. I had a pleasant after- 
noon with them ; they told me more news, and said they 
had only that day been wondering if I were still in the land 
of the living. At three next morning they left for the interior 
and we for the coast. The heat that day was intense. My 
men collapsed beside the dry water-hole at Ngomeni. I left 
Omari to look after them, and with two of my best porters 
pushed on to the Tzavo river for water. I found Wilson 
there, and he kindly sent some of his men with water for 
mine. He helped me also with food. I had expected to get 
some from the station here, but the headman was away and 
had locked up the store. Mr. Wilson kindly sold me a few 
loads. All being tired, we rested here for a day. Wilson told 
me much about his adventures in the country, and of the 
trouble he had experienced before he could succeed in making 
the natives cut the road. But he had allayed their suspicions, 
and-va large gang of Wa-taita were now at work upon it. I 
think Mr. Wilson's road has been one of the most successful 
industrial missions in East Africa. 

At Tzavo I diverged again from the beaten track to follow 
the Sabaki. Eight days' march through thorn scrub brought us 
to the freed slave settlement of Makongeni. The country was 
uninhabited and monotonous in the extreme ; some of the 
men knew it, though at first they denied doing so, and did 
their best to induce me to return by the ordinary road. The 
march was rewarded, however, by the discovery of some Permo- 
Carboniferous beds, and a series of fossils. I found these one 
evening at sunset, and continued the search far into the night 
by fire-light. 

At Makongeni we entered the Giriama country, a tract 
of wooded upland, with numerous villages. The population 
seems, however, to be diminishing fast, and numbers of shambas 

2o8 THE RETURN MARCH part ii 

are going out of cultivation. We passed Kahamisi and Lake 
Lagobuya, and camped on the eastern slope of the mountain 
of Mangea, the summit of which I had previously twice seen in 
the far distance. At Sinikumbe we saw the first cocoa-nut palms 
and papaws. We passed Sokoki and Poroporo to Fuladoya, 
and the following day crossed the Mwangudo river, which 
yielded us some welcome fish, which proved to be a new 
species {CJiroviis spilurus, Gthr.) We passed Akiluma, and 
went down the Warabo valley to a deserted mission station at 
Mwaiba. Here we once more saw the sea. Our last hard 
march took us to the Methodist Mission station at Ribe, at 
the edge of the great inland plateau, where I was kindly 
entertained by the Rev. Mr. Carthew. 

We left Ribe next morning for the final march. We de- 
scended the hill slope that led to the " temborari " or coastal 
plain, passed the three round hills known as " Coroa Mom- 
baza," or the Crown of Mombasa, and reached the estuary. 
As the tide was out we marched along its bed toward Frere- 
town, halting only to collect the cartridges from the men, lest 
a salute should have undesirable consequences. I had to get 
money for my men's food allowances, and it being Saturday 
I hurried on, to try to reach Mombasa before the bank 
closed. At the beach at Freretown a boat was ready, and 
two stalwart Suahili rowed me rapidly down the harbour to 
Mombasa, and landed me at the quay. 

A great change seemed to have come over the town during 
the past five months. The British East Africa Company was 
in a state of suspended animation, and its condition seemed 
reflected in that of its chief town. In March Mombasa was a 
bustling mart, full of life and activity. The harbour was then 
crowded with dhows ; the quay and streets were noisy all day, 
with people of many nationalities. Native Suahili, Soudanese 
and Somali soldiers, Beluchi and Arab traders, Hindoo Ban- 
yans and their Goanese clerks, were all busy in connection 
with the safaris that were continually coming or going. But 
now all was quiet, the harbour was empty, the shops and sheds 
closed, the quay deserted. As I went through the town to 
try to find some one, I saw only a few boys. I found Hobley 
at lunch, and he returned to the Transport Office to receive my 
luggage and distribute rations, while I went back to the terrace 


above the harbour, to watch the men unload the dhow by 
which they had crossed from the mainland. 

This was the last act in the expedition, and I watched it 
with mingled feelings. On the one hand, I was glad of the 
prospect of rest and peace, and relief from the anxiety lest the 
collections and note-books should after all be lost. But, on 
the other hand, there w^as much that I parted from with regret. 
The active life, the constant change of scene, the novelty of 
the experiences, the excitement of exploration, and the interest 
of the geological problems, had stored the past five months 
with pleasant memories. But beyond this there was a keener 
grief. I had now to part with my men. The expedition had 
offered abundant sources of friction. The men had been over- 
worked, and when Hobley asked Omari how he had got on, the 
latter expressed the general opinion by his reply : " Vema, 
ilia teli khazi, teli khazi " (Very well, but lots of hard work, 
very hard work). Then the Zanzibar! strongly object to rush ; 
one of their favourite proverbs is " Haraka, haraka haina 
baraka" (Hurry, hurry has no blessing). But our caravan 
had gone at a record-breaking pace. On my return I found 
that Dr. Moloney claims the record for a journey of this sort, 
for the Stairs expedition to Katanga, which travelled 1080 
miles in six months all but ten days. We went 1650 miles in 
two days less than five months. The porters are used to a 
warm, damp, equable climate, such as that of Zanzibar, where 
the extreme annual range of temperature is only 10° F. ; but 
on Laikipia they had been exposed to a daily variation of fifty 
degrees, while the climate of the higher camp on Kenya was 
of a severity of which the natives had never even dreamed. 
Then I had been relentless, and insisted on the caravan going 
on and on, stopping for neither rain nor flooded rivers, hostile 
tribes nor fear of famine. The men occasionally had com- 
plained, and some of them would have been glad to do more. 
So we had had our little quarrels ; the men had grumbled, and 
my temper had not been of the sweetest. But the memory 
of these occasional disagreements sank into insignificance, in 
comparison with the long record of ready obedience, willing 
self-sacrifice, and personal devotion. Now that the last fare- 
wells had come, I realised that the impression stamped most 
deeply on my mind was not of peril or privation. Recollections 



of these had been blotted out by regard for the men who had 
braved danger and hardship, who had injured their health in 
long marches across the waterless wastes of the Nyika, and 
by exposure to the blizzards of the Kenyan snowfields, and 
who had worked all through from a simple instinct of duty, 
suffering for objects they could never understand. 


" The Land of Light and Liberty." 

Motto of I. B.E.A. Co. 

" Nature is cruel, man is sick of blood ; 
Nature is stubborn, man would fain adore ; 
Nature is fickle, man hath need of rest." 

Matthew Arnold. 




" Hier aber war's ! Plutonisch grimmig Feuer 
Aeolischer Diinste knallkraft, umgeheuer, 
Durchbrach des flachen Bodens alte Kruste, 
Dass neu ein Berg sogleich entstehen musste." 


In 1852 Sir Roderick Murchison advanced the hypothesis that 
Africa, south of the Sahara, was a continent of great antiquity 
and simpHcity, which had maintained the form of a great basin 
ever since the age of the New Red Sandstone. Murchison 
based his theory on the discoveries of Bain, the pioneer of 
South African geology ; but he drew support for it from the 
probabiHty that Lakes Ngami and Tchad, at the two ends of 
the supposed basin, were connected by others reported by 
classical traditions and modern traders. Murchison regarded 
these lakes as the remnants of a series which had existed 
uninterruptedly throughout two of the three great eras of the 
earth's history.^ 

This brilliant speculation was reaffirmed after the dis- 
coveries of Livingstone,^ Burton and Speke,^ and Speke and 
Grant,^ and was finally summarised in 1864 in the presidential 
address to the Geographical Society, and in a paper entitled 
" On the Antiquity of the Physical Geography of Inner Africa." ^ 
In these he claimed the country as of interest, because it was 

^ R. I. Murchison, President's Address, Journ. Roy. Geog. Soc. vol. xxii. (1852), 
p. cxxiii. 2 Ibid. vol. xxvii. (1857), p. clxix. 

^ Ibid. vol. xxviii. (1858), p. ccviii. 
* Ibid. vol. xxxiii. (1863), p. clxxxi. 
^ Ibid. vol. xxxiv. (1864), p. clxxxvii. and pp. 201-205. 


" geologically unique in the long conservation of ancient terres- 
trial conditions. This inference is further supported by the 
concomitant absence throughout the larger portion of all this 
vast area, i.e. south of the Equator, of any of those volcanic 
rocks which are so often associated with oscillations of the 
terra firina." 

For a while every addition to our knowledge of the geology 
of the equatorial region seemed to confirm the truth of this 
hypothesis by showing that it consisted of one solid block of 
gneiss and schist. These rocks were proved by Speke to 
form the basis of the central basin ; they were found to the 
east of this by Thornton (1862), Gustav Rose (1863), and 
Roth (1864) ; to the north and north-west by Baker, Schwein- 
furth, Emin, and Junker ; to the south by Livingstone, Burton, 
and Speke ; and to the west, in later times, by Wolf and 

That part of Murchison's theory, which affirms that Central 
Africa has never been below the level of the sea, is still in 
harmony with the known facts, for no deposits of marine 
origin have as yet been found in the interior. The sedimentary 
beds, found by Speke and Stanley to the west of the Victoria 
Nyanza, and recently described by Cornet in the Upper Congo, 
have yielded no fossils to indicate the conditions under which 
they were formed. It was hoped, however, that the deposits of 
the long series of lakes would contain the bones of the land 
animals, that lived on the plains around them ; just as the South 
American -pampas have supplied those of giant sloths, the 
United States prairies those of horned reptiles, the Karroo of 

^ The five chief contributions to our knowledge of the geology of British East Africa 
are those of Thornton (1862), Beyrich (1878), and Sadebeck (1879) for the stratigraphy 
of the coast region ; of Miigge (1886) and the joint memoirs of von Hohnel, Rosiwal, 
Toula, and Suess (1892) for the petrography and physical geography of the interior. 
Much incidental light is thrown on the country by the works of Blanford (1870) and 
Baldacci (1891), and of Ebert (1887) and Cornet (1894), of whom the two first describe 
Abyssinia, and the two last German East Africa and the Upper Congo. The petro- 
graphical studies on rocks from Kilima Njaro by Rose (1863), Roth (1864), Bonney 
(1886), Hyland (1889), and Tenne (1890) must also be noticed. Information as to the 
range of the various rocks, used in the construction of the map, occurs in the records of 
most travellers who have written on the country, especially in those of Speke, Baker, 
Stanley, Stuhlmann, Baumann, and Scott Elliot for the Nyanza region ; of Hildebrandt, 
Thomson, Piggott, Lugard, and Hobley for the eastern half of the country. Gibson's 
short account {Proc. Brit. Assoc. 1893, PP- 75^1 759) of his traverse from Mombasa 
to Uganda, so far as it goes, is admirable. It did not, however, seem advisable to 
burden the present chapter with references to this literature, for it is only in the case of 
the Archean rocks and the coast deposits that previous results have been incorporated. 
Reference to Suess's important memoir is given in the Introduction. 


uncouth lizards, the Siberian tundras of buried mammoths, and 
the Weald of Kent of bird-like saurians. The lake deposits of 
Equatorial Africa might have been expected to be especially 
prolific in extinct animals, for the existing fauna is much 
richer than those of the regions enumerated. Nevertheless, so 
far they have proved barren. The conclusion has therefore 
been gradually accepted that Tropical Africa is geologically 
uninteresting, for as a continent it has no history, and it has 
no message as to the development of life on the globe. 

A quotation in the Introduction (p. 2) shows that the 
old view of the simplicity of the geology of Tropical Africa 
has lasted as late as 1891, but in the next year Professor 
Suess's memoir threw a special interest over the region adjoining 
the Great Rift Valley. This, however, did not contradict 
Murchison's brilliant guess as to the antiquity of the continent, 
and I was not surprised when the four months on the coast- 
lands and the first month of the march inland showed nothing 
of any special geological interest. But nearer the Rift Valley 
the conditions are different, and the region presents a combina- 
tion of features which elsewhere can be paralleled only, and 
that imperfectly, in the Western States of America. 

Plateau Eruptions. — The first of these special types of 
structures was seen the day after leaving Machakos, when we 
reached a tract of country marked on the best existing geo- 
logical sketch-map as recent alluvium. It was part of the 
district known as the Kapte Plains, and I expected to find 
this to be an old lake basin or a desert of wind-borne drift. 
But on reaching the summit of the last ridge of the Iveti 
Mountains, we found before us a vast expanse of undulating 
prairie, stretching away to the western horizon. The rock of 
which this consisted ended abruptly against the flank of the 
old gneiss ridge on its margin, but it ran up the valleys and 
into the hollows of the mountains, just as the water of a lake 
follows the irregularities of its shore. So much did this view 
remind me of that across the great Snake River lava fields of 
Idaho, when seen from the range of the Tetons, that I felt sure at 
once that this was a plain of lava and not of alluvium. I hastened 
down to it, and the inference was confirmed. The resemblance 
between this plain and the American lava sheet became still 
more apparent as we marched across it, and also when, on the 


return journey, we traversed it farther to the north. As this 
plain was therefore lava and not alluvium, it took its place as 
part of the great volcanic series of Africa, the approximate extent 
of which is marked on the accompanying sketch-map (Fig. 7). 
An inset map of Southern Italy on the same scale shows the 
insignificance of the lava flows of Vesuvius and Etna in com- 
parison with those of Eastern Africa. The latter cover so 
vast an area, that it is useless to compare them with the flows 
from ordinary volcanic vents ; they must be due to the same 
method of eruption as that which discharged the rocks of the 
great lava sheets of America and the Deccan Traps in India. 
The extent of these is equally enormous ; the latter cover 
an area of 200,000 square miles, and those of the Western 
States of America have been estimated to occupy a tract of 
country as large as Great Britain and France combined. More- 
over, these vast lava fields have been described as free from the 
tuff and ashes which form the larger part of the material 
ejected by volcanoes. Hence, for two reasons, it seemed hope- 
less to explain their formation by the ordinary type of volcanic 
action. Baron von Richthofen therefore proposed the theory, 
which was subsequently supported by Sir Archibald Geikie, 
that these lava seas were discharged from subterranean reser- 
voirs through fissures, possibly hundreds of miles in length, 
instead of through simple circular vents. That cracks may 
form for great distances across a country and be filled by 
igneous materials is proved by the occurrence of dykes, 
which cut across northern England and Scotland ; that the 
contents of such fissures occasionally reach the surface is known 
from observations in the Sandwich Islands. It was obvious at 
once that these Kapte plains were older than those of North 
America, and there was accordingly more chance of finding 
exposed upon them some of the supposed fissures. A ride on 
the great lava sheets of the Snake River of Idaho in 1891 had 
temporarily shaken my faith in the fissure-eruption hypothesis, 
but it had not destroyed it, and I therefore left the Iveti 
Mountains for the plains expecting these would yield im- 
portant evidence in support of the theory. The rocks have 
been extensively denuded ; the Athi has cut a deep gorge 
through the plain, but nowhere could I find any sign of the 
fissures. In places many small dykes occur, but their existence 


is not inconsistent with the ordinary type of volcanic action. 
Moreover, beds of volcanic tuff and ashes are abundant, and all 
the evidence points to the former occurrence of a vast number 
of small craters scattered over the area. Later on, when 
marching across Laikipia, we passed over another lava plain of 
more recent date, and there found dozens of the denuded stumps 
of small craters. That craters may also have existed on the 
Snake River plains is not improbable, for several facts sug- 
gested that these were older than I had inferred from previous 

Hence, as the study of these African lava plains revealed 
abundance of fragmentary materials due to explosive eruptions, 
but none of the fissures, I was gradually driven to abandon 
Richthofen's theory in favour of one that seems better to agree 
with the conditions seen in the field. This may be explained 
by reference to the accompanying diagram (Fig. 8). The 
upper figure represents an ideal section across an ordinary 
volcanic crater in a region of folded and contorted rocks. In 
such a case lines of weakness will traverse the country along 
the axes of the folds. If beneath the area there be a mass 
of rock, either molten or ready to melt when the pressure 
is relieved, then this will force its way to the surface through a 
vent, and by a series of explosive eruptions build up a volcanic 
cone. According to the fissure-eruption hypothesis, the strain of 
this subjacent lava is supposed to tear open a crack or fissure 
instead of a single short vent ; and, owing to the great size 
of the aperture, the rock quietly wells forth without explosions. 

According to the hypothesis suggested in the lower of the 
three figures, the lava sheets may be produced without the 
assumption of fissures. Wherever these great lava plains are 
known, they occur on high plateaux composed of rocks which 
either retain their originally horizontal position, or are of remark- 
able uniformity in composition. If such a plateau occurs over 
a great subterranean lava reservoir, then, as the contents of this 
expand, the rocks above will be subjected to tension in all 
directions. The plateau will therefore be traversed by a double 
series of lines of weakness crossing one another like a network. 
The intersections of these lines will be points of equal weakness, 
and when the pressure from below is sufficient to force an 
opening to the surface by one of these, many others will give 



way simultaneously. Thus, instead of one big vent, there will 
be numerous scattered small ones, the flows from which will 
coalesce into continuous sheets of lava. These may therefore 
be better described as Plateau Eruptions rather than as Fissure 

Cone Eruption. 

Fissure Eruption. 



I _i- 







Plateau Eruption. 

Fig. 8. — Three Types of Volcanic Eruptions. 

Rift Valley. — After leaving the Kapte plains we came 
upon a second interesting type of structure. The valleys we 
had previously seen were constructed on the same plan as those 
of England ; for their courses were sinuous and their slopes 
rounded, since they were made by the familiar processes of 
denudation and erosion. But, on emerging from the Kikuyu 
forests, we entered one which was straight in direction, and was 
bounded by parallel and almost vertical sides ; its characteristic 
features were that its lines were straight, and that its angles 
retained some of their original sharpness, for the direct action 


of faults and earth -movements still dominated the scenery. 
An hour after entering this valley, we reached the edge of the 
Great Rift Valley, which, like the former, must be directly due 
to earth-movements. Once the plateaux of Mau and Kikuyu 
were continuous across the site of the Rift Valley ; a double 
series of north and south cut through the plateaux, and 
allowed the block of material between them to subside. This 
left a great open Rift Valley (or, to use Prof. Suess's term, 
a " Graben "). This method of valley formation is illustrated 
by Fig. 9 ; strips of country have fallen owing to a series of 
parallel cracks or " faults," and thus a valley has been formed 
with precipitous, and sometimes step-like sides. Such valleys 

Fig. 9. — Section across Rift Valley. (F = Faults. ) 

have long been known in America, and the extraordinary 
steepness of their bounding walls may be seen in photographs 
of the Yosemite Canon in California. 

Block Mountains. — A third feature in this region of Africa 
is mountains constructed on a different plan from those typical 
of Europe ; there they are formed by actual elevation owing 
to the intrusion of igneous rocks or to the folding of beds 
once laid down as horizontal sheets of sediment ; some of the 
mountains of the Rift Valley, on the other hand, are formed of 
layers which are still horizontal (as in Fig. 10) ; each mountain 
consists of a huge block of material ^ that has been left standing, 
while the rest around it has fallen to a lower level. 

^ A " SchoU " in the terminology of Professor Siiess. 



Thus, instead of there being no new type of structure in this 
region, and the geological facts being of wearisome monotony, 
it teems with novel problems, and all its conditions seem different 
from those of Europe. For the valleys are often due to rifts 
instead of to erosion ; the mountains are sometimes formed of 
blocks instead of by folds ; while the lava flows are on a scale that 
shows the impossibility of measuring the universe by European 
standards. There was yet a fourth difference which was especially 
noticeable, as it afforded great aid in the study of the geology 
of the district. England is an old-fashioned piece of the world ; 
its physical features were determined long ago. Most of the 
inequalities caused by dislocations and faults have been levelled, 


Fig. io. — Section across a " Block Mountain." (F = Faults.) 

and those that remain are mainly due to denudation and 
erosion. But in Africa it is not so. Great earth -movements 
have happened so recently that rock scarps, looo to 2000 feet 
in height, still stand bare and precipitous as though formed but 
yesterday, and straight lines and sharp angles still dominate 
the scenery. The recent date of such earth -movements has 
therefore rendered the physical features of the country such a 
direct expression of its geological structure, that this can be 
recognised in a hasty traverse. 

So intimate is the connection between the physical geo- 
graphy of British East Africa and its geology, that it is 
convenient to refer to the former before attempting to 
summarise the latter. 



The Geographical Zones of British East Africa. — In the 
Geographical fournal it was pointed out that British East Africa 
may be considered to consist of seven zones or belts, running 
north and south approximately parallel to the coast.-' 

The first of these is the coastal plain, known to the 
Suahili as the " Temborari." In some parts of East Africa 
this is a wide tract of malarial country, but in most of the 
British dominions it is narrow, and can be traversed in one or 
two marches. It consists of a low-lying plain, formed of raised 
coral reefs and old sea-beaches, and is generally covered by a 
soil formed of wind-borne sand. On the seaward margin there 
is a line of dunes, which are sometimes 150 feet in height. 
This zone is deeply indented by estuaries, which, as they are 
followed inland, are found to branch repeatedly ; some of the 

,,. • Primitive 

^'- °f Mountain 

... Volcanic Chain Axis P 

W. '^' 

Nyanza ftangatan Hift Rangatan /\ Rangatan \ Nyika Plateaux 

Valley / \ ; Temborari 

I / \ '• : or 

J "^ V 1. ': Coast Plain 

Fig. II. — Section across British East Africa. 

small creeks unite with those of an adjoining estuary, and thus 
islands are cut off from the mainland. The shores of the 
estuaries are mud flats, on which grow dense jungles of man- 
groves. The flats are uncovered at low tide, and the decom- 
position of the vegetation and dead marine animals left upon 
them causes the malarial exhalations which are the bane of 
the coast. 

The next zone — the Foot-hills — is also narrow, and is 
entered to the west of Mombasa at Chamgamwe, at the summit 
of a steep slope that rises 200 feet above the shore. From 
this point there extends westward an undulating plateau covered 
with woods, groves of palms and plantains, orchards of mango 
and papaw, and fields of dry rice, maize, and dhurra. This 
district is the granary of Mombasa, as it was in the fourteenth 
century at the visit of Ibn Batuta. The foot plateau is not 

^ J. W. Gregory, " Contributions to the Physical Geography of British East Africa," 
Geog. lourn. vol. iv. (1894), pp. 293-297. 


present throughout the whole of British East Africa. In some 
places a steep ascent of 800 feet or so leads from the coast 
plain to the edge of the broadest of the East African zones — 
the great Nyika. 

Nyika (or U-nyika) is the Suahili word for the country of 
the tribe known as the Wa-nyika, and it appears to mean either 
"wilderness" or "lifted up." ^ It has been gradually adopted 
for the whole of the great scrub-covered plains of East Africa, 
of which the Wa-nyika occupy only an insignificant proportion. 
The Nyika, in this wider sense, extends southward from 
Somaliland, opposite Aden, across the Italian, British, and 
German dominions in East Africa, its continuity being 
broken only by the valleys of the six principal rivers, the 
Shebeyli, Juba, Tana, Sabaki, Rufigi, and Rovuma. The 
peculiar scenery of the Nyika has often been described, and a 
good idea of its aspect can be obtained from an exquisite 
photograph published by Paulitschke."' The soil of this zone 
is sandy, and usually stained bright red by oxide of iron. It is 
porous, and water is scarce except in the rainy season ; there is 
no turf, for the grass is dry and grows in scattered tufts. The 
higher vegetation (see pp. 286-287) consists of loose acacia 
scrub, and of plants and trees with succulent stems and spine- 
shaped leaves, such as the Birthwort and the Spurge. 

Rising through the Nyika, or occasionally forming its 
western boundary, is the next zone, the " primitive mountain 
axis " of East Africa. This is part of a chain composed of 
very ancient rocks, which once formed the backbone of the 
continent. It probably extended from the Drakensberg of 
Natal to the mountains of Abyssinia, and possibly to the 
Ababd Mountains of Egypt and the central peaks of Cyprus. 
Its original continuity has been destroyed, as it was breached 
by earth-movements and denudation, and it has been in places 
buried under vast piles of volcanic materials. But the old 
rocks continually reappear upon this line, as a series of hog's- 
back-like ridges running from north to south. The Bura, 
Taita, and Ongalea Mountains, the numerous " Bare Hills " 
that rise above the Nyika in the Ukamba country, Bwinzau 

^ The etymology of the word is considered in Geog. Journ. vol. iv. (1894), p. 296. 
- Ph. Paulitschke, Beitrdge zur Ethnographic utid Anthropologic der Somdl, Galla 
und Haran (xZZb), pi. xiii. 


near Kibwezi, the Iveti Mountains, the gneiss ridges of Ithamba 
and Changabuba, Doenyo lol Daika, and the Loroghi and 
Matthews Mountains, are the remnants in British East Africa 
of this ancient mountain axis. 

Proceeding still farther to the west, we come to the next 
zone — broad plains of volcanic rocks, which are the great 
grazing lands of the nomadic tribes, and for which we may 
adopt the Masai name of " Rangatan." The largest of these is 
the " Kapte Plain," which extends from near the base of 
Kilima Njaro, northward to the upper valley of the Tana. 
Beyond this is another Rangatan, forming the high plateau of 
Laikipia ; farther to the west is Rangatan Nyuki, or the " Red 
Grazing Land," probably so called from the colour of the river 
which flows through it. These Rangatan may play an impor- 
tant part in the future of British East Africa, for, as their soil is 
fertile and retains moisture well, and as the climate is cool and 
bracing, they offer the best sites for European colonisation. 

The Rangatan are formed of sheets of volcanic material, 
which occurs also piled into lofty cones. The largest of these 
run along a line from north to south, forming the " Volcanic 
Chain." The highest mountain of this series is Kilima Njaro 
in German East Africa, but the largest is Kenya, 280 miles to 
the north. Between the two occurs the line of craters of the 
Kyulu Mountains, while the series is continued to the north 
by Mounts Loldibo and Kulall, which link it to the lofty 
volcanic peaks of Abyssinia. 

The last zone was originally also a highland, but it is now 
broken by a series of north and south faults into the " Great 
Rift Valley." 

The Geological Basis of the Seven Zones. — When we turn 
from the superficial features of the country to its geological 
structure, we find that the seven zones are all different in 
composition. The coastal plain consists of raised coral reefs, 
marine sands, shell beds, and recent alluvium, with an occa- 
sional outlier of deposits belonging to the next zone. 

The foot plateau consists of shales and sandstones referable 
to the middle period of geological history, though including 
some carboniferous beds belonging to the latter part of the 
previous era. 

The Nyika and the primitive mountain axis are both 


formed of crystalline rocks (gneisses and schists), which occur 
in the former as level plains, and in the latter as hog's-back- 
like ridges, composed of the harder parts of the series. The 
Rangatan and the volcanic chain are both volcanic, one being 
formed of sheets of lava due to " plateau eruptions," and the 
other of piles of ashes and lava as in ordinary craters. 

The floor of the Rift Valley is occupied by more varied 
materials than either of the other zones, for we find upon it 
ancient and modern lavas of various ages, the alluvium of 
dried lake basins, recent river gravels, and deserts of loose 
drifting sand. 

The Geological Sequence. — Before attempting to show the 
relations to one another of the different rocks which form 
these zones, it is necessary to choose a simple standard of 
comparison. A convenient method is to refer the African 
rocks to their position in the sequence observed between 
Holyhead and London. This begins at the former town with 
some schists, and next reaches a ridge of " gneiss," which is one 
of the oldest rocks known to the geologist. Passing thence to 
the south-east, the traveller continually moves from older to 
nerWer deposits. Thus after crossing the Menai Strait the 
Archean gneisses and Cambrian slates are left behind, and to 
the south can be seen the summits of the extinct volcanoes of 
Snowdon. Continuing eastward, still younger rocks belonging 
to the Silurian period ^ are seen, followed by those of the 
Flintshire coal-field. Here the systems belonging to the " era ^ 
of ancient life " (Palaeozoic) are left, and a few miles before 
Chester the railway reaches the New Red Sandstone or Trias, 
which is traversed till three miles before Rugby. There the 
sandstones disappear below some clays, and the route crosses 
an alternation of ridges of limestone and valleys of clay, 
belonging to the period of the Oolitic Limestones or Jurassic. 
These in turn are succeeded by the rocks of the Cretaceous 
period ; of these the best known member is the Chalk, which 
can be seen on both sides of the railway, as it passes along an 
old river valley cut through the Chiltern Hills. At Watford 
the Chalk, the latest English representative of the " era of 

^ The terms used for divisions of time in the present chapter have a somewhat 
technical meaning : thus, an epoch is a subdivision of a period, and this in turn is part 
of an era. 



middle life " (Mesozoic), is seen for the last time, and the rest 
of the journey is over " London Clay," deposited during the 
Eocene. The next two periods, the Miocene and Pliocene, are 
not represented in this district, and we pass at once from the 
London Clay to the gravels of the " Pleistocene." In some of 
these, formed by the Thames when it flowed to the north of its 
present position, we find the flint implements made by early 

Thus, in a journey from Holyhead to London, we may see a 
sequence of deposits which includes representatives of most of the 
great periods in the earth's history. The following table sum- 
marises this sequence, marking the rocks which belong to the 
different divisions in England, and those which, as we shall see, 
represent them in British East Africa, 


Period. « 

English Representative. 

East African Representative. 


Neolithic gravels 

Gravels with Neolithic 

Paleolithic ,, 


Cainozoic or 

Era of 
Recent Life 


(?) Hill gravels on 

Deposits of Lake Suess, 


summit of Chilterns 

Basalts of Plateau 



London Clay 

Deposits of Lake 


Chalk Hills of Chil- 

Older Plateau Erup- 

Mesozoic or 



Era of Inter- 

^ Jurassic 

Limestones of North- 

Clays with fossils 

mediate Life 



near Mombasa. 

New Red Sandstone 

Magarini Sandstones. 


Coal Measures of Flint- 

Sabaki Shales. 

Pi^lT^nyrvif* or 




Era of 


Sandstones of Denbigh- 


Ancient Life 


>Karagwe Series. 


Volcanic rocks of Snow- 





Gneisses and Schists of 

Gneisses and Schist 

(Fossils un- 



Tlie Geological History of British East Africa. — In British 
East Africa there is no long succession of fossiliferous deposits, 
as in England. In 1892 the only fossils recorded from it were 


a few plants, ammonites, and reptile bones from the hills of 
Mombasa, and a few sub-fossil shells of living species. The 
only rocks to which any definite age was assigned were those 
from which the above fossils came, and the gneiss, which was 
regarded as Archean. 

In spite, however, of the absence of a definite series of 
fossiliferous deposits, it is possible to determine the relative 
ages of the rocks in East Africa, and to find among them re- 
presentatives of most of the principal divisions of the geological 

The earliest era of the earth's history is the Archean, which 
is represented in Anglesey by a ridge of gneiss and by schists. 
Rocks of the same kind underlie the whole of British East 
Africa, and form two-thirds of its surface. Three days after 
leaving Mombasa the traveller finds these rocks on the plains 
near Taro, and continues upon them for 230 miles until past 
Machakos. Here they sink beneath sheets of volcanic rocks, 
from which they rise to the west, forming the whole of the 
Uganda plateau and the Nandi Hills. 

The rocks of the Archean series may be divided into two 
groups, the Upper and the Lower. The former occurs in a part 
of the Iveti Mountains between Zuni and the pass of Kwazome, 
and has been found by Mr. Scott Elliot on the flanks of 
Ruwenzori. It is composed of a series of schists — banded 
rocks which split into flakes like slates. These vary in colour 
in accordance with the mineral which predominates in their 
composition. Some are silvery gray, as they consist of mica 
and quartz ; others are dark green, as they contain hornblende 
instead of mica. The Lower Archean series consists of gneiss, 
in which occurs bands of an irregular coarse-grained rock of 
light colour (pegmatite), and of fine-grained fissile rocks which 
are dark green or black. 

It is not easy to decide as to the exact origin of this 
Archean series. The gneisses were probably formed from 
various rocks, some of which were igneous and some sedi- 
mentary. They have, however, all been completely altered 
by burial deep below the surface, whereby they came under 
the influence of the internal heat of the globe. They were 
thus rendered crystalline, and their original characters obliter- 
ated. The gneisses contain two sets of rocks, which were 


probably igneous in origin, and were forced into the gneiss in a 
molten condition. When the main series was altered, these 
igneous intrusions underwent the same change. One set con- 
sisted of so-called "acid" rocks, as they contained much 
quartz ; these have formed " pegmatite " veins. The other set 
was poor in quartz, but rich in such materials as iron and 
magnesia, and thus had a more complex chemical composition ; 
they therefore underwent more marked alterations, and were 
crushed into a series of dark -coloured banded schists in the 
way so clearly described by Teall in the case of the Scourie 
Dyke in Sutherland. These rocks, therefore, carry us back to 
a very early period in the earth's history, for they doubtless 
date from the Archean era, and are of approximately the same 
age as the gneiss of Anglesey. Though their interpretation is 
difficult, they tell us that Africa was originally a country where 
igneous activity prevailed, and they remind us that all the 
rocks, now exposed on the surface, were once deeply buried 

After leaving the Archean system there is a gap in the 
geological record, and we have no certain knowledge of the 
condition of Equatorial Africa during the first four of the five 
ages of the era characterised by the " ancient forms of life." 
Deposits formed during this interval are known, such as the 
Karagwe series, to the west of the Victoria Nyanza, and the 
Lualaba series of the Upper Congo basin. But they have not 
yet yielded any fossils ; and as the shales and sandstones of 
which they consisted have been crushed into slates or consoli- 
dated into quartzites, they give no certain knowledge of the 
condition of the country at the time of their formation. 

The record does not begin again till the upper part of the 
Carboniferous period, when England was covered by the swamps 
and jungles, in which grew the vegetation that has formed our 

In the hills to the west of Mombasa there are some sand- 
stones in which occur the famous water - holes of Taro. 
Thornton found a few plant impressions in these beds, and on 
this evidence the sandstones have been assigned to the Carbon- 
iferous. However, in the Sabaki valley I obtained more 
definite evidence of the Carboniferous age of some of the 
deposits, by finding a series of fossils containing some fish 


scales, and some mollusca determined by Professor Amalitzky 
of Warsaw and Mr. G. F. Harris as Palcsanodonta fischeri 
(Amal.) These show that at this period large freshwater lakes 
occurred in the valley of the Sabaki. 

The next period in the earth's history was the Trias, 
during which quaint reptiles lived at the Cape in the region of 
" the baked Karroo," and a great continent extended across the 
Indian Ocean from the Cape of Good Hope to India. This 
probably extended northward as far as Western Russia, for 
one freshwater fauna spread throughout this region. In 
Eastern Africa a band of brilliant red sands and sandstones 
occur near the coast behind Mombasa, and thence extend 
northwards to the hills around the mission station of Ngao on 
the Tana. These can be especially well seen in the hills above 
the plantations of Magarini, and I therefore propose to call 
them the " Magarini Sands." 

There is no direct fossil evidence as to the age of these 
beds, but as they appear to overlie the Carboniferous rocks, and 
are in turn covered by the next series, they are probably 
Triassic. They are no doubt a desert sand, and, though 
here and there the action of rivers and streams can be traced 
within them, they indicate the existence of an arid climate 
toward the close of the New Red Sandstone period. 

After the formation of the last of the Magarini Sands the 
land subsided, until part of the coast region was below the 
sea. The continent over the Indian Ocean was broken up, or 
at least indented, by gulfs or seas that ran northward from the 
great Southern Ocean. On the shores beds of shale were formed, 
some of which are now found at intervals along the African 
coast from Somaliland to German East Africa. These yield 
ammonites, which show that the beds from which they come 
were formed at the same time as the Oxford Clay of our 
Midland Counties. 

In the next great period — that of the Chalk — another 
change came over the country. In Sofala and Madagascar to 
the south, and in Somaliland to the north, marine conditions 
still occurred. The British dominions on the east coast, how- 
ever, yield no marine deposits of this age. The next fossil 
from them is Eocene in age, and allied to species found in the 
Kirthar series (Upper Eocene) of India. The evidence of this 


fossil is not free from doubt, but as the conclusions it suggests 
are probable and in accordance with other lines of evidence, 
and as it fixes a date which otherwise must be left uncertain, 
it is convenient to admit it. 

Accepting, then, that the fossil in question came from East 
Africa, we know that a new stage in the history of the country 
began after the close of the Jurassic. Up to this point, ever 
since the Archean era, Eastern Equatorial Africa had been 
stable and restful ; but then the old volcanic fires broke out 
anew, and inaugurated a series of events which have given the 
region its especial interest. In summarising these it is con- 
venient to give names to the principal divisions, and the native 
terms for the geographical features determined in each of them 
may be appropriately adopted. 

The first of these we may call the Kaptian, as in it were 
formed the Kapte plains. That this period began later than the 
Jurassic is probable, for Hobley has shown that the rocks of 
this age on the coast are cut by dykes. The composition of 
the rocks suggest that these dykes belong to the first series of 
eruptions. The volcanic action near the coast was not very 
powerful, but in the interior innumerable small volcanic cones 
buried an enormous tract of country under a flood of molten 

The earliest lavas ejected by these " plateau eruptions " 
were of the kind known as " trachytes," and these were fol- 
lowed by others containing less silica, which are named 
" andesites " owing to their importance in the Andes. 

The duration of this period of intense volcanic activity 
cannot be precisely determined, but it must have been pro- 
longed. When the pressure on the lava sources was relaxed, 
the volcanoes dwindled, became dormant, and then extinct. 
They had, however, destroyed the structural stability of the 
country ; for the subterranean reservoirs were empty, while 
masses of volcanic material had been piled upon the surface. 
The upper layers of the earth's crust were therefore over- 
weighted above and weakened below, and earth -movements 
were necessary to restore equilibrium. The first change was 
probably a subsidence of the country to the east and west of 
the East African lake-chain, leaving this line as a ridge or 
arch running north and south from Basso Narok, past Baringo 


and Naivasha, to the southern end of the volcanic region near 
Lake Nyasa. Throughout the whole of geological history the 
dominant lines of weakness in East Africa have run from 
north to south, and it is therefore only natural that the ridge 
should have trended in the same direction. As the move- 
ments of this epoch raised the line which formed most of the 
existing watershed between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, 
it may be called the " Doenyan," from the Masai name for 

The regions on either side of this central ridge probably 
continued to subside. The central arch was therefore left 
unsupported, and parallel cracks opened along its flanks, as 
they do on a bridge when its buttresses give way. As the 
summit of the ridge was thus weakened it sank, making the 
first step in the formation of the Rift Valley. 

As we have seen in the Introduction, Suess has shown 
that the Rift Valley extended from the north of Palestine to 
Lake Nyasa, but the whole of it was not formed simultaneously. 
Moreover, each part was probably formed by a series of earth- 
movements at distant intervals. 

The first of the series of north and south faults which 
formed the Rift Valley happened in the Eocene. This is 
determined by the occurrence of marine fossils, which must 
have lived in a gulf that ran into the valley from the Indian 
Ocean. As the earth -movements of this epoch formed the 
Nyasa region of the Rift Valley, we may call it the " Nyasan." 

After the subsidences of this epoch, volcanic disturbances 
of the plateau type began again. In the foot-hills of Kamasia 
there are lake deposits, in which occur beds of pebbles of the 
Kaptian lavas. Above the lake deposits there are flows of 
basalt, which have baked the clays into a porcelain as hard 
and white as the purest china. We may call this second series 
of plateau eruptions the " Laikipian," as its basalts form the 
main cap of Laikipia, where they lie on eroded surfaces of the 
older lavas. After these eruptions had again disturbed the 
equilibrium of the region by removing the foundations in some 
places, and piling up accumulations of volcanic materials over 
others, earth-movements again set in. Probably it was at this 
time that the plateau which occupied the site of the Victoria 
Nyanza began to subside. The head streams of the rivers 


that rose upon it were cut off from their lower courses, and 
were reversed in direction. They flowed to the centre of the 
depressed region, where they collected as a great lake. The 
second of the series of faults which made the main Rift Valley 
probably happened at the same time, and increased its size and 
depth, while others enlarged that of the Albert Nyanza. The 
climate of Africa must then have been less arid than at present. 
The snowfields of Kenya were certainly larger, and great 
glaciers flowed from these for several thousand feet down the 
flanks of the mountain.^ The heavier rainfall helped the 
growth of lakes, which extended over places that are now sandy 
deserts. This period may therefore be called the " Naivashan," 
from the Masai word for lake. The first of these extinct lakes 
which we crossed was in the Kedong basin, where we entered 
the Rift Valley. There on the face of the Kikuyu scarp, 
which forms the eastern wall of the valley, are the terraces of 
an ancient lake. This I propose to name Lake Suess, after 
Prof Edward Suess of Vienna, whose Das Antlitz der Erde 1 
venture to regard as the most original and suggestive geological 
work that has appeared since Lyell's Pi'inciples. The terraces 
of this lake are perfectly visible when seen from a little distance, 
though often difficult to trace in the jungle that covers the face 
of the cliff. The terraces were formed by the conservative 
action of the water, which protected the part of the valley wall 
below its surface, while that above it was exposed to the wind 
and rain. The cliff was therefore driven back, while the debris 
which fell from it accumulated on the floor of the lake. The 
terraces show that Lake Suess at one time reached the height 
of 400 feet above the present floor of the valley, along which it 
extended for a considerable distance. 

It is probable that the outlet of the lake was to the north, 
whence a river flowed along the Rift Valley, through the basins 
of Baringo and Basso Narok. There it was joined by a 
river, the Turquell, which, as we shall see in another chapter, 
probably received the drainage of the basins of the Victoria 
and Albert Nyanzas, through the valley occupied by the 
Salisbury or Musaniya lake-chain." 

1 The evidence for this is stated at length in a paper on ' ' The Glacial Geology of 
Mount Kenya," Quart. lour. Geol. Soc. vol. 1. (1894), pp. 515-530. 

- For topographical information which supports this idea I am indebted to Major 
Williams, R.A. 


Lake Suess must have lasted for a considerable period, 
gradually dwindling as the climate became more arid, and as 
earth-movements cut off its extension to north and south. One 
of these earth-movements formed the ridge crowned by the 
volcano Longonot, which separates the Kedong and the Naivasha 
basins. That this ridge is later than the lake is shown by the 
fact that the terraces on its flanks are uptilted. It is also 
certain that the lake was earlier than the last of the lava flows 
from Longonot, for these have spread out over the alluvium, a 
fact illustrated in PI. IX. (p. 97). Volcanic action, however, 
took place in the district while the lake was in existence, for 
Doenyo Nyuki (the Red Mountain) once rose above its surface 
as a volcanic island. 

In the later stages of the history of Lake Suess volcanic 
activity of a violent type was renewed, new craters being 
formed along lines running north and south. Kibo — the 
highest mountain in Africa — was a member of this series, to 
which also belong the Kyulu Mountains (a line of craters in 
Kikumbuliyu to the west of the Uganda road), Elgon and 
Lekakisera to the north-east of the Victoria Nyanza, and the 
most recent craters on the floor of the Rift Valley, such as 
Suswa and Longonot. These volcanic disturbances were 
followed or accompanied by another series of earth-movements. 
The chain of volcanoes from Elgon to Lekakisera apparently 
marks a line of elevation, which cut off the connection between 
the Nyanza basin and Basso Narok (Lake Rudolf). Parallel 
to this was a line of depression, which lengthened the Albert 
Nyanza Rift Valley, and formed the gorge between Wadelai 
and Lado, through which the waters of the Central Basin of 
Africa gained an outlet to the Nile. 

Mention of this event reminds us that in Equatorial Africa 
there is not merely one Rift Valley, but a series, which ramifies 
through the country like the rill systems of the moon. Suess 
has shown that these " valleys of dislocation " often end by 
splitting into a series of smaller ones, which he calls a " virga- 
tion," from its resemblance to the loose ends of a bundle of 
twigs. The Great Rift Valley presents a typical case of this 
in Palestine. In Africa, however, it branches occasionally, 
and forms an open system. The members of this have not 
been geologically surveyed, and in many cases the topographical 


information, from which their existence is inferred, is unsatis- 
factory. But of the existence of such a series there is now no 

We have thus rapidly summarised the main outlines of the 
geology of British East Africa. The first striking fact is that, 
with the exception of a narrow strip upon its margin, the 
country has never been below the sea. The second point of 
interest is that the history of the region may be divided into 
three stages : — 

1. The Archean, represented by igneous and schistose 

2. The long uneventful interval between the Archean and 
the Cretaceous. 

3. The subsequent complex series of volcanic eruptions 
and earth-movements. 

This threefold division reminds us at once of the geology 
of Brazil and of the southern or peninsular half of India, the 
histories of which agree very closely with that of East Africa. 
Thus Southern India consists in the main of gneiss and schists ; 
upon these occur slates and quartzites (the Cuddapah series) 
much like those of Karagwe. Then comes a long recordless 
interval, until, in the Cretaceous, plateau eruptions poured out 
the 200,000 square miles of Deccan Traps, which correspond 
with the Kaptian series of Africa. After this the scarp of the 
Western Ghats was probably formed in the same manner as 
the scarp of the East African plateau. 

The main interest in the geology of British East Africa 
is in the last of the three periods. This is complex, for it 
has three parallel histories — those of the volcanoes, of the 
lakes, and of the earth -movements. In the previous sketch 
the effort has been made to combine the three narratives into 
a continuous story ; but the following table shows them 
independently : — 





East African 

Rift Valley Area. 

Nyanza Basin. 

Volcanic Action. 





Longonot, Doeny 
Ngai, and Teleki 
Volcano in 



Last series of 



Longonot, Kyulu, 
and existing 
crater of Kilima 

Elgon series in 
eruption. For- 
mation of Nile 



Doenyo Nyuki 


Extension of 
Kenya glaciers 

Second series of 
Rift Valley 

Depression of 
area and for- 
mation of Sem- 
liki Rift Valley. 

(?) Miocene 


Plateau eruptions 
of basalt 

Basalt eruptions. 

Eocene - 



First series of Rift 
Valley faults. 

Sea in southern 


Kenya, Settima, 
and Mawenzi 
in eruption 

Ridge over Rift 

Plateau condi- 



First plateau 

In the case of the volcanic history there are probably 
five main divisions, three of plateau eruptions and two of crater 
eruptions. The succession of lavas poured forth appears at first 
to agree with Richthofcn's theory of the volcanic rock sequence. 
The plateau -eruption lavas followed one another in the order 
— trachyte, andesite, and basalt, and this succession appears to 
support Richthofen's hypothesis. But if we consider the crater 
eruptions, no definite succession occurs. In these, trachytes 
occur after andesites as well as before them, and basalts at the 
end of the series as well as at the besfinninsf. 


After the completion of the system of Rift Valleys, the 
study of East Africa becomes the work of the archaeologist 
and historian, instead of the geologist. The stone implements 
of the old terraces of Lake Baringo (see pp. 323, 324) show 
that man entered the region while yet the lakes were larger 
than they are to-day. Volcanic eruptions still took place 
and earth-movements continued, for some of the fault-scarps 
are so bare and sharp that they must be of very recent 
date. This continuation of earth-movements into the human 
period is one of the most striking features of the district. 
Whereas, according to the old view, British East Africa was 
supposed to have acquired a condition of stable equilibrium at 
a very early age, it has, on the contrary, been in a continual 
state of change since the time of the formation of our Oolitic 
limestones. During the eras between those of the Archean and 
of the Chalk, the country may have enjoyed comparative rest ; 
but in the age of the latter, there began one of the two greatest 
of the series of volcanic outbursts known in the world's history. 
This and the resultant series of earth - movements have kept 
the region ever since in a condition of disorder and unrest. 
One region has been raised and another depressed ; in one 
place a fiord has been opened from the sea, and then separated 
from it ; elsewhere a line of movement has reversed the direction 
of rivers, and transferred lakes from one river system to another ; 
while differences in elevation have caused variations in climate 
and rainfall. The evidence of these changes is apparent on every 
hand. Scars of great earth-movements, extinct volcanic craters, 
dried lake basins and old river beds, show the extent and 
recent date of these events, and the structural instability of the 
region of the Great Rift Valley. 

In later chapters we shall see that this structural instability 
has had a most important influence on all branches of the 
natural history of British East Africa, for its results have 
affected the development of both animals and plants, and 
helped to mould the character of the people. 



" Kisauni kutamea mvinde ? " 
" Mvita kutamea mgomba? " 

(Will Kisauni grow the she-oak? 
Will Mombasa grow the banana tree ?) 

Zanzibar i F?-overbs. 

The problems of the distribution of animals and plants in a 
country are riddles, the difficulty of which varies with the 
complexity of its history. In regions of great stability they 
are simpler than where important geographical and climatic 
changes have taken place in the past. Thus, on the old 
view of the geological uniformity of the continent of Africa, 
these problems might have been expected to be com- 
paratively simple, whereas they have always proved excep- 
tionally confused and intricate. After making a preliminary 
collection in East Africa, I compared notes with those of the 
residents, such as Mr. Ainsworth of Machakos, the late Mr. 
Bell Smith of Melindi, and the late Dr. Charters of Kibwezi, 
who had had experience on the west coast. The result 
sorely puzzled me, by bringing out apparently glaring con- 
tradictions in the facts of distribution. Thus certain groups 
run across Africa from east to west, while others extend from 
north to south. The commoner beetles, butterflies, and birds 
seemed to belong to a fauna that spread across the continent 
from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. On the other hand, 
some less important groups of animals, and some of the more 
striking of the plants, have their nearest affinities with those of 


Abyssinia and the Cape. That different groups of living 
creatures have different geographical distributions is a well- 
known fact. As shown by Dr. Blanford, in his remark- 
able presidential address to the Geological Society in 1890, it 
can be easily explained by the assumption, that the distribution 
of land and water has varied greatly at different periods in 
geological history. A group of animals, therefore, that made its 
appearance on the earth at one period, was able to spread along 
very different lines from those followed by a later group, when 
old land-masses had been broken up, and seas once connected 
had become separate. Thus, if we compare the distribution of 
different groups of animals, we find a gradually increasing special- 
isation as we pass from the oldest to the youngest groups. 
This is shown by the accompanying four sketch-maps. The 
oldest of the five classes of vertebrate animals is that of the fish, 
of which only the fresh-water forms are of any value in this con- 
nection ; when they were introduced, they were apparently able 
to spread in any difection, and thus their present distribu- 
tion appears to be determined mainly by temperature, for the 
faunas range round the world in three bands. By the time 
the tortoises appeared in the period of the Trias, or New Red 
Sandstone, the land of the southern hemisphere had apparently 
been broken up, and it was only to the north of the equator 
that the animals were able to range round the globe. Accord- 
ing to the tortoises, therefore, North America, Europe, and 
Asia are all part of the same province ; but before the 
introduction of the lizards, remains of which first occur in 
the Purbeck limestones, great geographical changes had 
occurred. These reptiles could not spread westward into 
North America, but they made up for this restriction by 
extending southward throughout Africa. After another great 
lapse of time, snakes appeared upon the scene in the age of 
the London Clay (a part of the Lower Eocene) ; the European 
species were now cut off from Africa, and in Asia were limited 
to the western half of the continent. The passerine birds, on 
which Dr. Sclater's classification is mainly based, soon followed 
the snakes ; they were cut off from America and Tropical 
Africa, but their powers of flight enabled them to spread over 
the whole of Europe and Asia, though they did not succeed in 
entering India, Siam, and the Malay Peninsula. 


The application of this simple explanation to the anomalies 
in the internal distribution of plants and animals in Africa 
seemed prohibited by the general assumption that this continent 
had always maintained its present form. Moreover, this ex- 
planation does not fully account for the distribution of some 
groups in small local patches ; and as soon as the scientific 
exploration of Equatorial Africa began, numerous small outliers 
belonging to one province were found to occur in the middle 
of others. 

Thus, when Baron von der Decken returned from his 
memorable expedition to Kilima Njaro in 1862, he brought 
back with him a collection of plants, many of which were 
determined by Ascherson to be species previously known from 
the mountains of Abyssinia, such as Helichrysuni abyssinicum, 
Sch. Bip., SpilantJies abyssmica^ Sch. Bip., and Achyrocline 
Hochstetteri, Sch. Bip. Others, such as the tree lobelias 
{Tupd), are allied to those of the same region, and others 
belonging to genera such as the Wormwood {Artemisia) are 
typical of the north temperate zone. During New's daring 
visit to Kilima Njaro in 1871 he obtained specimens of twenty 
plants, which enabled Sir Joseph Hooker and Professor Oliver 
to add the Bartsia to the list of northern genera growing on 
the mountain. The later collections of Teleki, Johnston, and 
Volkens have fully confirmed the fact of a flora existing on the 
higher part of this mountain, unlike that of the surrounding 
lowlands, and allied with those of the mountains of Abyssinia 
and the Cameroons, and to a less extent with those of the Cape 
and the Mediterranean basin. 

The most striking of these plants was a giant groundsel, 
which was first discovered on Kilima Njaro by Mr. H. H. 
Johnston, after whom it was named Senecio JoJinstoni. This 
plant, though belonging to the same genus as our English 
groundsels and ragworts, grows as a tree from 20 to 30 feet in 
height, resembling members of this genus previously known 
from the mountains of Abyssinia and the Cameroons. 

In some photographs taken by Gedge at a corresponding 
elevation on Mount Elgon, similar arborescent groundsels form 
a conspicuous feature in the scenery. Count Teleki observed 
another species on Kenya, and a view published by Stuhlmann 
demonstrated the existence of a similar form on Ruwenzori. 


Moreover, on each of these mountains, the giant groundsels are 
associated with tree heaths, tree lobeHas, and other plants allied 
to those of Kilima Njaro and the temperate zones. Teleki's 
observations did not, however, show whether the Alpine flora 
of Kenya was more closely allied to that of Kilima Njaro, of 
Abyssinia, or of the Cameroons, and the determination of this 
point was one of the main objects of my visit to the mountain. 
More than half of my collections from Kenya were lost in the 
Tana, and of the remainder, only two out of three botanical 
groups have been as yet described. These show that the flora 
is allied to that of Kilima Njaro, though the species are in 
many cases distinct. 

The Alpine birds of Central Africa have the same remark- 
able distribution as the plants, for upon the highest mountains 
there is an avifauna unrepresented on the adjoining lowlands. 
Dr. Bowdler Sharpe has grouped together these isolated colonies 
into a special sub-region, which he calls the " Cameroonian." On 
his map, illustrating the geographical distribution of birds,^ he 
shows this "Cameroonian sub -region" as a series of areas 
scattered over Equatorial Africa. 

The most simple possible explanation of these facts 
is, that the seeds have been carried by the wind, or by 
birds, from one mountain summit to another. It is well 
known that the wind can carry some seeds for enormous dis- 
tances ; and if the resemblance of the floras of Abyssinia, 
Kenya, and the Cameroons, were due solely to plants with 
seeds so small as those of the orchids, or provided with 
appliances especially adapted for floating in the air, such as 
the pappus of the groundsels, this explanation might suffice. 
But seeds so large as those of the Gladiolus, and so hard and 
heavy as those of Podocarpus, can hardly have been carried far 
by the wind ; nor are the birds sufficient to account for the 
distribution, as the sun - birds, which alone occur at these 
altitudes, are not migratory. 

A second explanation is suggested by the fact that similar 
anomalies in distribution occur in Europe, where Alpine and 
Scandinavian plants, such as the little Liizula araiata of the 
Grampians, live on the summits of mountains, far from the 

^ R. Bowdler Sharpe, "On the Zoo-Geographical Areas of the World, illustrating the 
Distribution of Birds," Natural Science, vol. iii. (1893), pp. 100-108. 



present homes of the species. In Europe this admits of very 
easy explanation, for the former extension of the glaciers in the 
great Ice age drove the northern plants farther south ; as the 
climate became milder and the ice receded, the plants returned 
northward, and in the south survived only on the summits of 
the higher mountains. Analogous cases have been found in 
North America, and admit of the same explanation. Thus on 
the White Mountains in New Hampshire there is a group of 
butterflies of Arctic types, which have been left as a legacy 
from glacial times. 

The occurrence of these isolated patches of an Alpine flora 
in Equatorial Africa therefore suggests that, in times geologi- 
cally recent, a change has come over the climate. This is con- 
firmed by other lines of evidence ; instances are known of the 
survival of plants in situations now ill-suited to them. For 
example, at the southern end of Basso Narok, von Hohnel 
found a patch of the Hyphaene palm. His photograph shows 
that the trees are dwarfed and unbranched, and are clearly 
growing under unfavourable conditions. They are probably 
survivals from a rich growth of these palms that flourished 
around Basso Narok at a period when a great river flowed into 
its southern end, and its waters were less alkaline than they 
are to-day. The geographical evidence is equally conclusive. 
Livingstone ^ has graphically described the existence of river 
gorges in Bechuanaland far larger than could have been cut 
by the rivers that now flow through them ; and the same fact 
has been reported in the Sahara by Zittel, Rohlfs, and Weld 
Blundell. Old beaches and terraces indicate the former exist- 
ence of lakes, whose waters have long since been lost by 
evaporation into the air and absorption by the soil. 

Hence the evidence of the plants, river gorges, and old lake 
basins, together demonstrate that some change has taken place 
in the African climate. The two latter could be explained by 
a mere decrease in the rainfall, but this would not account for 
the first ; and the facts afforded by the Cape, Kilima Njaro, 
and the Andes seemed to forbid an appeal to the glacial 
agencies, which explain the analogous cases in Europe and 

^ D. Livingstone, Missionary Travels arid Researches in South Africa (1857), 
p. III. 


It is true that, in the Himalaya, ice action once operated 
several thousand feet below its present limit, but there is no 
proof that it reached the plains ; ^ moreover, this occurred in the 
midst of a continent and 30 degrees from the Equator. 

Some evidence has indeed been adduced from the Cape of 
a recent glaciation, but so far it is inconclusive, and the facts 
opposed to it are very weighty. For example, one of the most 
easily recognisable rocks in South Africa is the volcanic " Pipe 
Amygdaloid " of the Stormberg series. If glacial action had 
occurred since this was formed, boulders of it must have been 
distributed across the country. Their absence seems incom- 
patible with the existence of an ice sheet in Cape Colony since 
the Cretaceous period. It is therefore less surprising that by 
the Europeans who have visited Kilima Njaro (more than a 
hundred in all) no extension of its glaciers has been recorded. 
It may be objected that negative evidence in the case of 
Equatorial Africa is not reliable ; but that of the Andes shows 
conclusively that there has not been any universal extension of 
the glaciers in the tropics. The fact that the glaciers at the 
Andes are now at their maximum extension is well established : 
D'Orbigny indeed argued from it that the Andes are still 
undergoing elevation. Mr. Whymper has informed me that 
only twice in Ecuador did he see any trace of glaciation below 
the level of the existing glaciers. In the more important case 
he found some decayed rocJies ino2it07inces below his second 
camp on Chimborazo ; but they were so little below the 
" Glacier de Debris," that a mere local variation in wind would 
account for the slight extension of the ice that made them. 

Thus the negative evidence of Equatorial and Southern 
Africa and the analogy of the Andes seemed to forbid any 
appeal to glacial theories for an explanation of Central African 
anomalies in biological distribution. When, therefore, above the 
forests of Kenya, I found an old moraine several thousand feet 
below the level of the existing glaciers, I felt that I had found 
not only a valuable clue to the causes of the spread of the 
Alpine flora, but a chance of determining the date of its 
extinction on the lowlands and of the change in the African 
climate. This evidence has been considered at some length in 

' C. A. M'Mahon, Records Geol. Surv. India, vol. xiv. (1881), p. 310 ; vol. xv. 
(1882), p. 49. See 2\s,o"Man. Geol. India, ed. 2, p. 484. 


a paper on " The Glacial Geology of Mount Kenya," ^ which 
deals with both the causes of the greater glaciation and some 
of its results. The former has been referred to in a previous 
chapter, but the latter must be considered in relation to the 
changes in the flora. 

In the paper quoted it is shown that the glaciers once 
extended for over 5400 feet below their present limits, and it 
is suggested that this was due to the level of the whole country 
having been much higher than at present. Whether this were 
the cause or not, there can be no doubt that the Alpine flora, 
which now descends on Kenya to the level of 10,400 feet, 
must have been driven as far as the glaciers advanced. It 
would thus have reached the contour line, which now stands 
5000 feet above the sea. Other effects would have tended in 
the same direction. The greater extent of the snowfields 
must have increased the rainfall on the surrounding country. 
Moreover, on the mountains there does not appear to be any 
division of the year into wet and dry periods, as there is on 
the plains ; the heavier rainfall would therefore have been all 
the more effective, as it would have been distributed throughout 
the year. The rainfall on the_ plains would also have been 
increased in another way. In all mountainous countries, more 
rain falls on one particular zone than either above or below it. 
At present, in British East Africa, this " zone of maximum 
rainfall" occurs between the levels of 7000 and 11,000 feet, 
and thus only includes parts of the highest mountains, and not 
the plains. But during the period of greater elevation of the 
country, the maximum rainfall would have occurred at a 
relatively lower level, and probably most of the surface of the 
high plateaux was included in this zone. In much of the 
country in which the rainfall is now scanty and uncertain, it 
would therefore have been regular in distribution and con- 
siderable in amount. 

The results on the vegetation of the district must have 
been very great. The air being damper, it would no longer be 
necessary for the plants to guard themselves against the drain 
of moisture caused by the process of transpiration. The desert 
scrub, which now covers the country, would have been replaced 
by a less specialised and more normal type of vegetation ; the 

^ Quart. Joiirn. Geol. Soc. vol. 1. (1894), pp. 515-530. 


possession of narrow, spiny, or needle-shaped leaves and succulent 
leafless stems would not then have been an advantage ; the 
foliage would have been more luxuriant and better adapted for 
animal food ; forests that now occur only as belts beside the 
rivers would have been spread far and wide across the country. 
The scrub would have been replaced by woodland, and districts 
that now, as barren sandy deserts, present barriers to animal 
migration, would have been fertile, well-watered prairie. All 
the conditions, in fact, that govern the distribution of animal 
and plant life would have been different from those that obtain 
at the present day. 

At the time, therefore, of the maximum size of the Kenyan 
glaciers, the Alpine flora would have spread at least throughout 
the areas marked by dots on the accompanying map (Fig. 13). 
No doubt it extended lower, as traces of it have been found in 
the mountains of Usambara, but the precise lower limit cannot 
be determined from the data available at present. When the 
clima\:e changed with the decrease of the glaciers, the Alpine 
flora crept up the mountain sides, and became isolated from its 
allies in the temperate regions to north and south. 

We have assumed, however, that this Alpine flora has 
received contributions not only from the north but from the 
south, and this compels us to consider the theory that 
all faunas and floras have originated in the northern hemi- 
sphere, and thence have worked their way to the south. The 
occurrence of isolated patches of the flora of one region in 
a more southern zone has been mentioned as not unknown in 
Europe and North America. Similar evidence occurs in Asia. 
On the mountains of Ceylon and the plateaux of Southern India 
there occur plants such as Rhododendron arboj^eiuti, Sm., and 
mammals such as the Indian Marten {Martcs Jlavigida, Bodd.), 
which do not live on the surrounding lowlands, but reappear to 
the north on the Himalaya. Similarly, the Himalayan fauna and 
flora can be traced along the mountains of Assam and through 
Burmah into the Malay Peninsula. An outlier occurs even on 
the hills of Java.^ Russell Wallace^ and Haacke^ have 
collected a good deal of evidence of the same character, and 

^ Blanford, Medlicott, and Oldham, Afatt. Geol. hidia, ed. 2 (1894), p. 14. 
^ A. Russell Wallace, Island Life (1880), chap, xxiii. 

3 W. Haacke, " Der Nordpol als Schopfungszentrum der Landfauna," ^/t?/. Centralbl. 
Bd. vi. (1886), pp. 363-370. 



upon it advanced the theory that the movement of faunas is 
always to the south. 

This theory of the northern origin of Hfe is unquestionably 

Walker &■ Boutall 

/Present Distribution HB 

tRan^e at Maximum Glaciation CHS 

Fig. 13. — Map of Present and Former Range of Alpine Flora. 

very suggestive, as it is supported by many different lines of 
evidence, explains many difficult problems, and is itself readily 
explained. Nevertheless, I venture to doubt its universal 
truth. Colonies occasionally have migrated into Europe and 


North America from the south. Thus a South American fauna 
entered the United States in the Upper Miocene.^ 

Plants so typical of the Cape flora as Calodcndrnm capcnse, 
Thunb., and orchids of the genus Disa, occur on the plateaux of 
Equatorial Africa associated with the Mediterranean and north 
temperate species. This certainly suggests that in Africa 
plants have been introduced into the equatorial regions from 
the south, as well as from the north. That the rule that plants 
and animals have usually travelled from north to south is not 
so universal as to prohibit this, is shown by the fauna of the 
Andes. The theory of a migration from north to south during 
a cooler period has been applied there, but H. W. Bates, in 
discussing the results obtained by Mr. Whymper's collection, 
pointed out that the facts give no support to it. He says : 
" It seems to me a fair deduction from the facts here set forth, 
that no distinct traces of a migration during the life-time of 
existing species, from north to south, or vice versa, along the 
Andes, have as yet been discovered, or are now likely to be 
discovered." " On the contrary, he claims that there are no 
traces in the Andes of Ecuador of temperate forms of either 
beetles or butterflies, and the fauna consists of modified repre- 
sentatives of the genera of the neighbouring lowlands. 

Mountain floras, therefore, are of two types — those which 
have been left as relics of an older or foreign flora, and those 
which have developed i?i situ by the adaptation of local, low- 
land species. In British East Africa there are representatives 
of both types. Many of the mountains are not sufficiently 
high to reach the levels at which alone the temperate plants 
can live. In such cases they have been killed off, and the 
summits are occupied by dwarfed, or otherwise modified, re- 
presentatives of the species of the adjoining lowlands. The 
occurrence, however, of species of such genera as Clematis, 
Polygala, etc., on the summits of the Taita Mountains, shows 
that in some localities representatives of both groups occur 

^ W. B. Scott, " The Mammalia of the Deep River Beds," Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc. 
vol. xvii. (1894), p. 62. Many similar cases could be quoted. A book has, indeed, 
recently been issued by C. Di.xon, The Migration of British Birds (1895), which main- 
tains, as the fundamental law of distribution, that species never migrate to the south. 

2 E. Whymper, Travels amongst the Great Andes of the Equator, vol. ii.. Supple- 
mentary Appendix (1891), p. 4. 


As has been already suggested, a great change in the 
character of the flora of a country must inevitably influence 
the distribution of its animals by altering the food supply. 
Thus insects will vary with the flowers, and birds with the 
insects ; small mammals will disappear as the vegetation 
becomes sparser ; earthworms will be restricted to the more 
fertile regions, and termites or " white ants " replace them, as 
the soil becomes harder and more barren. In the case of the 
fresh-water fauna, the range of possible variation in the environ- 
ment is more limited. The current of a river may become 
slower, or the quantity of water in a pool may lessen ; but the 
conditions do not vary fundamentally, unless the water dries up 
entirely, and such a change as this is at once fatal to animal 
life. Nevertheless, the fresh-water fish of Equatorial Africa 
present as many anomalies in distribution as the land animals 
and plants. When Giinther ^ in 1869 described the collection 
made by Petherick in the Upper Nile, he pointed out that the 
fauna of which it is a part has a very remarkable distribution, 
being more nearly related to the faunas of the Palestine and West 
African rivers than to those of Lake Nyasa and the Zambesi. 
Later collections have fully confirmed the truth of Dr. Gunther's 
view. Though the fish of the Zambesi, the Upper Congo, and 
their connected lakes, such as Nyasa and Tanganyika, are in 
the main identical in genera with those of the Upper Nile, they 
differ from them in species ; while the Upper Nile contains 
some of the very same species as the Jordan and the Sea of 
Galilee. My collections prove that the rivers of British East 
Africa, such as the Tana, Athi, and Sabaki, and the rivers and 
lakes of the Rift Valley have the same generic fauna. The 
Tana, however, is intermediate between the Nile and the 
Zambesi, for it has two species from each, viz. Clarias lazera, 
C. v., and Clarotes laticeps, Rlipp., from the former, and Eutropius 
depr'essirostris, Ptrs., and Synodontis zambezensis, Ptrs., from the 
latter, as well as one {Barbus intermedius, Riipp.) from Abyssinia.^ 

The fact that renders the evidence of fresh-water fish so in- 
structive is that the distribution of the species is often extremely 
local. Thus many of the small British and Irish lakes have 

^ In J. and B. H. Petherick's Travels in Central Africa, Appendix C, vol. ii. pp. 

^ A. Giinther, " Report on the Collection of Reptiles and Fishes made by Dr. J. W. 
Gregory during his Expedition to Mount Kenya," Proc. Zool. Soc. (1894), pp. 84-91. 


forms peculiar to them, such as the Llanberris Charr {Sahno 
perisi, Gthr.) found in the two Llyns at Llanberris, the Salmo 
colli, Gthr., of Lough Eske, and the Salmo gray i, Gthr., of Lough 
Melvin.^ The fact, then, that the same species occur both in 
the Upper Nile and in the Jordan, suggests that there must 
once have been some connection between them. If the fish 
which occurred in both rivers were eels, able to wriggle their 
way for some distance across land, or catfish {Clarias), able to 
live for months embedded in the dried mud on the floor of a 
desiccated pool, the facts would have little weight. But the 
fish in question have no such remarkable powers of vitality, 
and are killed by a few minutes' exposure to the air, or to 
water of a different composition from that to which they are 

Dr. Giinther suggested that this remarkable fish fauna 
must have originated in the lakes of the central plateau of 
Africa, and thence spread in every direction. 

That such changes in the river systems of Africa, as are 
necessary for Dr. Gunther's theory, actually occur, is shown by 
the controversy as to the relations of the Congo and Lake Tangan- 
yika. When Stanley in i 87 i proved that the river Ruzizi at the 
northern end of Tanganyika was an inlet, instead of an outlet, 
there seemed no point left for the escape of its surplus waters. 
Cameron accordingly in 1877 circumnavigated the lake, and 
then found that the Lukuga had a slow current flowing west- 
ward from the lake. Stanley returned in 1876, and found 
no outlet at this point. Hore early in 1879, and Thomson at 
its close, and other explorers later on, have found a powerful 
stream flowing from the lake toward the Congo. Tanganyika, 
therefore, is sometimes connected with the Congo, and at other 
times it is not. 

If Tanganyika had not been visited till twenty years hence, 
it is quite possible that its connection with the Congo might 
never have been seen, and the presence in it of so many Congo 
species would have been difficult to explain. 

The dispersal of the fish fauna of the rivers and lakes in 
the Victoria Nyanza region may have been brought about by 

^ F. Day has denied the validity of these species (Fishes of Great Britain and 
Ireland, vol. ii. (1884), pp. 112-114) ; but Gunther's faith in them is unshaken, and Day 
admits them as distinct varieties. They are therefore certainly distinct forms. 


a change, similar to that which is even now taking place in the 
case of Tanganyika. Probably at one period a wide plateau 
of gneiss and schists extended over the Victoria Nyanza basin. 
As the surface of the plateau was at a great elevation, the 
rainfall must have been heavy, and the hollows occupied 
by numerous lakes, with rivers flowing from them in every 
direction. It is well known that the direction of some of the 
head streams of the Mississippi is occasionally reversed, and 
they then flow northward into the Red River, and thus to 
Hudson Bay. The same thing must have happened on this 
central African plateau. The different rivers must have had 
their highest sources in the same swamps ; dams would have 
been formed across the streams by the growth of vegetation, 
the accumulation of shoals, and the falling in of the banks. 
Occasionally a slight earth-movement would block the outlet 
of a lake, and cause it to open at a spot whence its waters 
passed to another river system. Thus floods, dams, and earth- 
movements would continually give the fish in one stream an 
opportunity to work their way into a stream of another river 
system. Hence all the rivers and lakes of such a plateau 
would be tenanted by a common fauna. 

But at length came a change ; the centre of this plateau 
subsiding, formed a basin without an outlet. The rivers 
were therefore " beheaded " ; instead of rising in the centre of 
the plateau, their sources were now on the outer slope. The 
streams, which originally flowed outward from the highest part 
of the plateau, reversed their direction and flowed inward, 
so as to help to form a lake in the centre of the depression. 
Later on the separation between the waters of the central area 
and the rivers that originally rose on it was rendered more 
effective by the formation of the two Rift Valleys, when 
strips of land subsided on either side of the central Nyanza 
depression. There is therefore no difficulty in understanding 
why rivers which flow into the Atlantic and into the Indian 
Oceans, and are now widely separated by an area of internal 
drainage, are inhabited by the same forms of fish. 

So far Dr. Gunther's suggestion accounts for all the facts. 
But it does not remove the real difficulty, which is, that some 
members of this fish fauna are absent from the Lower Nile 
and yet are present in the rivers and lakes of Palestine. 


As Dr. Gunther says, " The system of the Jordan presents 
so many African t}'pes that it has to be included in a descrip- 
tion of the African region." ^ He adds, moreover, that " this 
infusion of African forms cannot be accounted for by any 
accidental means of dispersal," and thus it appears to afford 
conclusive proof of an original connection between the rivers 
of Palestine and Central Africa. 

At first it seems to be very easy to account for this con- 
nection, by assuming that a river from the Jordan basin was a 
tributary of the Nile, at the time when the eastern end of the 
Mediterranean was dry land. We know that the Levant was 
land in Pliocene times, for thus only is it possible to account 
for the almost complete difference in the faunas of the two seas 
on either side of the narrow isthmus of Suez. This difference 
is perhaps the most impressive fact in the whole range of 
zoological distribution. Thus in the case of the Sea-Urchins, 
not one species was common to the two seas at the opening of 
the Suez Canal. The evidence of the Mollusca is equally con- 
clusive, for according to Mr. Edgar Smith,' who has issued the 
last authoritative statement on the subject, only eight species live 
on both shores of the isthmus. This number is quite insig- 
nificant in proportion to the enormous faunas of the two seas, 
while the presence of the eight species in both seas can be 
easily explained. A couple of them {Chiton siculus, Gray, and 
C. discrepans, Br.) live attached to seaweeds, and could easily 
have been blown across the narrow isthmus ; the other six 
occur also in the Atlantic, and could thus have reached the 
Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar. The evidence 
of the Mollusca is therefore as conclusive as that of the Sea- 
Urchins, in disproving any recent connection between the Medi- 
terranean and the Red Sea. But the separation between the 
two seas cannot have been always effected by the present isthmus 
of Suez ; for the geological evidence shows that the Red Sea 
extended farther north in Pleistocene times, and then actually 
occupied part of the present site of the Mediterranean. It 
is now generally believed that the passage of the Red Sea 
by the Children of Israel must have been effected at some 

1 A. Giinther, The Study of Fishes, 1880, p. 227. 

^ E. A. Smith, "On a Collection of Marine Shells from Aden," Proc. Zool. Soc. 
(1891), p. 398. 


point farther north than the present end of the Gulf of Suez. 
The account of the destruction of Pharaoh's host may possibly 
be based on some catastrophe that happened owing to a change 
in the relative levels of land and water in this district. But 
the conclusion does not depend on the uncertainties of tradition. 
Raised beaches containing marine shells of living species are 
claimed to occur at a height three times as great as that of the 
existing watershed, and must have been formed at a time when the 
sea-level was higher than it is to-day. We are therefore con- 
fronted by the probability that the two seas must have been in 
communication in times geologically quite recent. So clear is 
this evidence, indeed, that Professor Hull has issued a map 
showing the two seas connected by a wide strait, at a time for 
which he accepts the name of the Pluvial period. He accounts 
for the divergence of the faunas by the assumption that they 
could not have crossed owing to the shallowness and narrowness 
of the water. But as a colony of Red Sea species, including 
the Sea-Urchin {Heterocentrotus inammillatus, Brdt.), has worked 
its way through the Suez Canal, which is only one-sixth of the 
depth and one four-hundredth of the width of Professor Hull's 
strait, this explanation seems quite insufficient. In order to 
reconcile the apparent geological proof of the connection of the 
two seas, and the zoological proof of their separation, we are 
bound to accept Professor Suess's suggestion that, when the Red 
Sea extended to the north, the Mediterranean lay much farther 
to the west. The Levant must then have been a plain, over 
which roamed herds of antelope and rhinoceros, and across 
which ilowed rivers in which lived the hippopotami, whose 
remains have long been known in the island of Crete. Suess 
suggests that the great scaly dragon slain by one of the 
Knights of St. John of Malta on the island of Rhodes may 
have been a crocodile, for these reptiles still live in the Jordan 
and in the Zerka (or " Crocodile River ") on the coast of 
Palestine. That such traditions are of geological value has 
been shown in the case of Samos ; for the stories of the 
occurrence of great monsters there led Dr. Forsyth Major 
to visit the island, and to make the famous collection, which 
finally proved the former extension of the African fauna across 
the Levantine area. 

It is therefore practically certain that the Nile must have 


been continued farther northward and westward than its 
present mouth, and it seems natural to conclude that the 
connection between the Jordan and the African river systems 
was established by a river, which flowed from Palestine into the 
Nile. Professor Hull ^ has not only accepted this view, but 
endeavoured to show that the connection was established 
along the course of the brook Kishon, for, near the head of 
its valley, a pass only 300 feet in height leads over into the 
Jordan basin. It is known that in Pliocene times the Jordan 
valley was occupied by a deep fresh-water lake, and Professor 
Hull suggests that the drainage from it escaped by this 
" Esdraelon Gap " into the Levantine basin. 

There does not, however, appear to be any sufficient 
evidence in support of this view. No traces of gravels or any 
river deposits, such as would probably have been formed by 
so large a river, have been found upon the pass. The theory 
that the Jordan discharged by a river flowing along the valley 
of the Jalud and over the Esdraelon Gap into the valley of the 
Kishon, assumes that this gap was then but little higher than 
it is to-day, and that immediately to the west the ground 
sloped down toward the Mediterranean. But the whole 
arrangement of the river system in the district renders it more 
probable that the Esdraelon Gap was formed by a river flowing 
eastward instead of westward, and that at the time of its 
formation the Jordan valley was even more effectually separated 
from the Mediterranean than it is at present. This gives a 
very different origin for the Esdraelon Gap, which can best be ex- 
plained by reference to a parallel case near London (see Fig. 14). 
All travellers to Brighton may notice that on leaving Croydon 
the railway gradually ascends the broad, dry " Golden Valley." 
Six miles south of Croydon the railway passes through a 
tunnel and emerges into a valley, which runs at right angles to 
the former, and is occupied by a tributary of the Mole. Looking 
backward, the Golden Valley is seen as a gap on the hill face 
above. If the traveller has time to walk up to this, he may 
find upon its floor some beds of gravel containing pebbles of a 
rock (Lower Greensand Chert), derived from the hills to the 
south. This material can only have been brought into its 

1 E. Hull, "On the Physical Conditions of the Mediterranean Basin," Trans. 
Vict. Instit. 1895, 10 pp. 



present position when a stream from the south could flow 
directly into the Golden Valley. 

This, however, has now been diverted owing to the occur- 
rence of a band of clay east and west across its former 
course ; the Mole has cut its way eastward along the clay, as 
it is soft and easily removed by water, and thus has absorbed 
into its own basin the stream that originally flowed northward 
down the Golden Valley. 

The Esdraelon Gap was probably formed in exactly the 
same way. It occurs on the face of the plateau of Endor and 
Nain, which presents a steep face to the west, and a long 

Wcahhn WnfeishcJ 

Si^ of North Doihhs 

Wea I dm V/a tci sh cc! 

•^W;WJVV>Y/J D ojun s , 

Original Course of Golden Valley 
Stream and the Mole. 

Present Arrangement : the Golden 
Valley beheaded by T-shaped 
Course of the Mole. 

Fig. 14. — -Diagrams illustrating the Beheading of River Valleys. 

gradual slope to the east. Originally the plateau must have 
extended farther to the west, continuing to rise in that 
direction, so that the rain that fell on it flowed into the 
Jordan. The Wadi el Muwali, a tributary of the Kishon 
however, now flows at the foot of the steep western face of 
the hills. It has cut its way into the plateau, and drained 
the streams that once rose farther to the west, just as the 
Mole has diverted the Golden Valley stream. The Wadi el 
Muwali has therefore " beheaded " the Jalud and cut away 
the upper part of its basin. What now appears as a notch 
in the western edge of the plateau is therefore only a section 
across the upper part of the valley eroded by the Jalud, when 
this stream rose much farther to the west. 



It is, therefore, quite possible to account for the existence 
of the Esdraelon Gap without assuming that it ahvays marked 
the watershed between the Mediterranean and the Jordan (for 
this, indeed, probably lay as far west as Cyprus) ; while a con- 
nection between the Jordan and the Nile would in no way help 
to explain the difficulty for which it is proposed. Such a 
connection is directly disproved by the fact that the Medi- 
terranean fish fauna is absent from the Jordan ; only one or 
two species, and those are Blennies, belong to both. If there 
had been any direct connection between the Jordan and the 

Walker Sr Iloutall sc. 

Fig. 15. — The Neighbourhood of the Esdraelon Gap. 

rivers of the Mediterranean basin, it is inconceivable that the 
fish of the latter should not have entered the former. More- 
over, any such connection would be useless to our present 
problem, for it ignores the real difficulty. If we follow the 
Nile downward from its upper basin, genera of fish such as 
Clarotes, Lepidosiren, Gyninarchus, and HaplocJiibis disappear, 
and others not known in the Upper Nile take their place. 
Thus JMocliococus replaces its close ally RJiinoglanis. In the 
Lower Nile there appear certain fish, such as five species of 
Mullet {Miigil), which have entered from the Mediterranean, 
and another group, which appears to have entered from the 
equatorial region, at the time when the Zambesi and the 
southern lakes received their contribution from this source. 


The African fish in the Jordan, however, appear to have 
entered that river at a later time, and they are not found in 
the Lower Nile. 

As Dr. Giinther says, " Heniichroviis is not represented in 
the north-eastern part of Africa proper, but chiefly on the west 
coast and in the Central African lakes." Similarly the Clarias 
of the Jordan is not the species {C. anguillaris, Linn.) of the 
Lower Nile, but that {C. inacracantJms, Gthr.) of the Upper 
Nile.^ It is no use, therefore, to assume the existence of a 
connection between the Lower Nile and the Jordan, to account 
for the existence in the latter of fish which do not occur in the 

As, therefore, the route proposed for the migration of the 
fish across the Esdraelon Gap is opposed to the evidence, and 
useless as an explanation, we are compelled to turn to some 
other line of connection between the Jordan and the rivers of 
Equatorial Africa. 

It has been mentioned as certain that in Pliocene times a 
large area in Palestine was occupied by a lake, the terraces 
of which may still be seen on the banks of the Jordan and 
around the shores of the Dead Sea. The fossils from the 
terraces indicate that the water was fresh, so the lake prob- 
ably had an outlet. This must have been either westward 
across Palestine, or southward by the valley of the Wadi 
Arabah, which leads to the Gulf of Akabah. The only 
locality suggested for the former is the Esdraelon Gap, which, 
as we have already seen, is improbable ; but the latter is sup- 
ported by several arguments. It is true that the Wadi Arabah 
depression is crossed by a ridge known as El Sate, which rises 
to the height of 787 feet above the sea, or nearly 500 feet 
higher than the Esdraelon pass. But the evidence already 
quoted shows that the latter has been reduced in elevation by 
denudation since Pliocene times, while there is reason to think 
that the height of the Wadi Arabah ridge has been increased 
by elevation. The equatorial part of the Rift Valley is divided 
into a series of basins by transverse ridges, similar to that of El 
Sate. Some of these are certainly due to elevation, for the old 
lake terraces upon their flanks have been tilted from their 
originally horizontal position (see PI. VIII. p. 94). Similar 

^ Giinther, op. cit. p. 228. 


terraces extend for some distance up the Wadi Arabah valley 
from the southern end of the Dead Sea, and attain the height 
of 1300 feet above its present level. HulP states that the 
alluvial deposits slope down to the north, and this supports 
the view that the ridge has undergone elevation. Anderson," 
the geologist with the United States Expedition to the Dead 
Sea, indeed, came to the conclusion that the ridge across the 
Arabah had been raised. Moreover, in the geological map 
prepared by Professor Hull,^ some old lake deposits are marked 
on the south side of the watershed and only a few feet below 
it. The account of these given in the text is not very precise, 
and we cannot decide whether or not these deposits are 
connected with the former discharge from the Jordan lake ; but 
their existence is an important link in establishing a fresh-water 
connection along this line. 

The opinion that the Dead Sea has always been an isolated 
basin was held by Lartet ; ^ and, as far as concerns any 
marine connection between it and the Red Sea, his arguments 
are unanswerable. His conclusion that the rivers on the northern 
side of the ridge of El Sate have always flowed from south to 
north is, however, not so well established. The evidence he 
adduces shows that the rivers flowed thus in the latter stages 
of the history of the Dead Sea ; but this is scarcely open to 
doubt. It is quite compatible with a discharge to the south 
at an earlier period, and such has not yet been conclusively 

In order that the fish from Equatorial Africa might 
have entered Palestine by the route along the Wadi Arabah, 
it is not necessary to assume that a river flowed the whole 
way from the Jordan to the northern end of the Red Sea. 
If fish from the south reached the lake proved by Hull 
to have existed on the summit of the El Sate ridge, an 
occasional flood or a slight earth - movement would have 
enabled them to enter the streams that flowed northward into 

^ E. Hull, Memoir on the Geology and Geography of Arabia Petrcea, Palesti7ie, and 
Adjoining Districts, p. 81. 

- H. J. Anderson, "Geological Reconnaissance of Part of the Holy Land," Offic. 
Rep. U.S. Rxped. to Dead Sea and Jordan, part v. (Baltimore, 1852), p. 206. 

* E. Hull, op. cit. map ver. p. 138 ; text p. 87. 

"• L. Lartet, " Note sur la formation du bassin de la Mer Morte," Bull. Soc. Gdol. 
France, s6r. 2, t. xxii. (1865), pp. 442-448; " Essai sur la Geologic de la Palestine" (1869), 
pp. 236-237. 



the Jordan basin. An incomplete connection such as this 
would allow the fish to pass b}^ the Wadi Arabah route ; but 
the evidence, geological and geographical, renders an actual 
outlet from the Jordan over this pass so probable, that it is 
simpler to accept it. We may therefore assume that a river 
flowed southward from Palestine, and along that part of the 
Rift Valley which is now occupied by the Red Sea, and 
entered the Indian Ocean somewhere near Aden. Near its 
mouth this Erythrean River (for it may conveniently be 
called after the ancient name of the Red Sea) probably united 
with another from the highlands of Central Africa, which 
flowed along the Rift Valley from the northern end of Basso 
Narok (Lake Rudolf),^ following the course of the Omo 
and Hawash, and across the depressed basin of Afar. This 
river would have received the drainage of the southern slopes 
of Abyssinia, the Rift Valley between Naivasha, Baringo, and 
Basso Narok, and also of the Victoria and Albert Nyanzas, 
which were not then connected with the Nile. At this time 
the Nile itself probably rose on the northern slopes of the 
mountains of Latuk on the east bank, and of Kakuak on the 
west, and the drainage of the two Nyanzas passed to the south of 
this mountain range, along the valley of the Musanyi, through the 
Salisbury lake-chain, and down the Turquell into Basso Narok. 
At this time, then, we may assume that the equatorial 
lakes were in direct river communication with the Jordan, 
and their fish could reach Palestine without entering 

1 Dr. Donaldson Smith's very successful expedition across Somaliland to Basso Narok 
has thrown further light on the possible connection between the Onio and that lake. 
Dr. Smith, in a paper read before the Geographical Society on 6th January 1896, has 
expressed his doubts as to this connection ; he regards the Omo as one of the head- 
streams of the Juba, and thinks that the Basso Narok depression ends off in the moun- 
tains in southern Abyssinia. If that is the case, there cannot have been any former outlet 
from Basso Narok to the north-east. But Borelli traced the Omo to a level (3450 feet) 
which renders its connection with the Juba almost impossible, and all the information given 
him by natives was in favour of the Omo reaching a great lake. The altitudes given by 
Dr. Smith to Lake Abbaja render it just possible that the Omo reaches this lake instead' 
of Basso Narok. On Dr. Smith's preliminary map (issued 6th January) two scarps with 
a depression between them are indicated. The western scarp is only shown to the west 
of the head of the Nianam ; but the occurrence of an apparent continuation of this to the 
north-east has been shown by previous explorers. The eastern scarp is marked from 
Fakes to Amara, and the altitudes given render its continuation past Basso Ebor to Basso 
Narok most probable. This leaves the Zuai lake-chain, the Omo valley, and the country 
between Borelli's southernmost point on the Omo and Dr. Smith's most northern point on 
the Nianam, on the iloor of the depression. Dr. Smith's exploration therefore appears 
to me to confirm the idea that the Omo and Lake Rudolf are connected by a line of 




the Nile. Later on this river system was broken up by 
earth-movements and change of climate. Owing to the latter 
cause the glaciers and snowfields of Lebanon and Central 
Africa shrank in area, the rainfall became less, the lake 
levels were lowered, and the rivers diminished in volume. 
At the same time the elevation of the ridge of El Sate across 
the Arabah portion of the Rift Valley cut off the southward 
discharge of the Jordan, a change more readily produced 
owing to its lessened size. The continued depression of the 
region to the south brought it below the level of the Indian 
Ocean, and thus the Red Sea took the place of the Erythrean 
River. An elevation of the land across the valley of the Omo 
separated the basins of Basso 
Narok and Afar, and along 
the chain of volcanoes of 
Elgon and Chibchagnani 
severed the connection of 
the Victoria Nyanza with 
the eastern Rift Valley. A 
parallel depression to the 
west continued the western 
Rift Valley farther to the 
north, and formed the gorge 
between Wadelai and Lado 

by which the great lakes are Fig. 16. — Diagram of possible former Source 
. , .., ^, TV7., of the Nile and Outlet from the ereat 

connected with the Nile. Equatorial Lakes. 

This view is put forward 
only as the theory which seems to me to best harmonise the 
known facts. For proof or disproof we must wait, until the 
river-courses and the gravels of the valleys between the Nyanza, 
Southern Abyssinia, and Somaliland have been investigated. 
The theory seems, however, to explain the three main 
difficulties : — 

1. The occurrence of the equatorial fish in the Jordan ; 
for it shows the possibility of direct river connection between 
Equatorial Africa and the north of Palestine. 

2. The absence of some species of fish which occur in 
the Jordan from the Lower Nile, by assuming the comparatively 
late date of the connection between the Nile and these rivers. 

3. The complete difference of the faunas of the Medi- 


terranean and Red Sea, owing to their being separated in 
Pliocene times by the whole length of the latter and by most 
of the Levant. 

The theory has, moreover, the recommendation of throwing 
considerable light upon the relations of the land and fresh-water 
faunas of Abyssinia and the adjoining region. The evidence 
furnished by the fish, which alone we have considered, is fully 
supported by that obtained from other groups of animals, and 
also from plants. 

We may take, first, the land and fresh-water shells. The 
fauna in Abyssinia has long been known to consist of a re- 
markable combination. The typical African genera, such as 
Ait her ia^ Iridina, Achatina, Galatea and Lanistes are absent, 
and the fauna is composed of three distinct elements, all 
foreign. One group has come from the Cape, another from 
India, and a third from the north, probably from Palestine. 
The last group is especially noteworthy. It consists of a 
group of species which are either still living in Europe, such 
as the common English pond shells, Lhnncsa pereger, Miill., L. 
truncatula, Miill, and Succinea debilis, Mor. ; or species that have 
only just become extinct there, such as Corbicula Jiiuninalis, 
Mull, which is one of the commonest fossils in the gravels of 
the Thames valley. This species is still living in the Sea of 
Galilee, in the Tigris, and also in the Lower Nile. Aubry and 
Hamon discovered it in 1883 in some old lake beds in the 
Afar region of Abyssinia, through which the assumed Erythrean 
River would flow. The shell was found farther south by von 
Hohnel, and, in the course of a tributary of this river, I found 
masses forming a shell bed a little to the south of Lake Baringo. 
There it was associated with Melania tuberculata, Miill., which 
is another common species in the raised beaches of the Dead 
Sea. It therefore seems probable that the fauna, which is 
represented by this Corbicula fluminalis, worked its way into 
Abyssinia from Palestine, and entered Abyssinia by following 
the Erythrean River. 

The evidence afforded by the birds and land animals is less 
complete, because, in consequence of the direct connection with 
Egypt, the fauna is mainly Mediterranean. But even among 
the birds there are many species which support the view of the 
direct connection between Palestine and Eastern Africa. Thus 


in the oases at the northern end of the Red Sea and above the 
gorge of the Jordan there is a Sun-Bird {Cinnyris oscce, Bonap.), 
belonging to a family not found in Africa north of the Sahara, 
though to the south it ranges east and west through the 
tropical regions of Africa and Asia.^ The African Darter 
{Pioius levaillanti, Licht.) is common in Southern Africa, on 
the Zambesi, along the East African coast, and on the Niger ; 
it is absent from Egypt, Nubia, and the whole of the north-east 
of Africa, but reappears in Syria, in the Lake of Antioch, and 
no doubt once extended along the Jordan.-^ Of the three 
Turtle -Doves of Palestine one {JFurtur covnnitiiis^ Selby) is 
European, another {T. risorius, Linn.) Indian, and the other 
{T. senegalc7isis, Linn.) Ethiopian ; the last occurs throughout 
Africa, except on the north of the Atlas, and in Palestine is 
restricted to the Jordan.^ Tristram's Grakle {Amydrus tris- 
traijii, Sclater) and the Fan-Tail Raven {Corviis affinis, Riipp.) 
have the same remarkable range, being confined to Palestine 
and Eastern Tropical Africa; the former lives only in Palestine 
and Equatorial Africa, and the latter only among the cliffs of 
the Dead Sea and the highlands of Abyssinia and Kordofan."* 

The literature of any group could be quoted as further 
evidence for the former connection of Palestine and Equatorial 
Africa along a line which avoided Egypt and the Lower Nile. 
The mammals give us the example of the Coney {Procavia 
syriaca, Hemp, and Ehr.), which belongs to a typically East 
African genus, but does not there occur farther north than 
Abyssinia. The only Rhizopod quoted by Tristram from the 
Dead Sea is the Grainniostominn cnprcohis, P. and J., an Indian 
Ocean species. 

Among butterflies, Hart's small collection on the Dead 
Sea yielded two species of the typically Ethiopian genus 
Teraco/us, one of which {T. pJiisadia, God.) was known in 
Aden and Abyssinia, and the other {T. chryso7iovu\ Klug.) in 
Somaliland. The evidence of the plants points in the same 
direction. Among Mediterranean and European species there 
are many known elsewhere only in Equatorial Africa and Asia, 
and — which are absent from Lower Egypt. 

^ See H. B. Tristram, The Fauna a7id Flora of Palestine (London, 1884), pp. 63-64. 
- Op. cit. pp. 108-109. ^ Op. cit. p. 121. 

■• Op. cit. pp. 74-76. 


The same fact is clearly shown by Hart in his careful 
analysis of the Flora of Sinai. ^ He has published a list of species 
found in the Dead Sea basin, which are typically tropical in 
their range. Thus the mallow Abiitilon fniticosum, G. and P., 
ranges from Senegal through Abyssinia to Beluchistan and 
Scinde, but is not reported from Egypt. Loranthus acacice, 
Zucc, is a common parasite on the trees of Nubia, Abyssinia, 
and the Wadi Arabah. The grass Cyperus eleusinoides, Kunth,, 
has an enormous range to the south, but misses North-Eastern 
Africa. Calotropis procera, Willd., is common in Somaliland and 
the East African Nyika, but its Palestine habitat is separated 
from these by the whole length of the Red Sea. 

It would be easy to quote further evidence, showing that 
one of the constituents of the complex fauna of Palestine 
entered that country from the south, but was excluded from 
Lower Egypt and North-Eastern Africa. 

As Canon Tristram concludes—" To sum up our deduc- 
tions, a review of the botany as well as the zoology of the 
Dead Sea basin reveals to us the interesting fact that we find 
in this isolated spot, comprising but a very few square miles, a 
series of forms of life differing decidedly from the species of 
the surrounding region, to which they never extend, and bearing 
a strong affinity to the Ethiopian region, with a trace of Indian 
admixture." ^ As the species which serve as the most striking 
illustrations of this fact live either in or beside fresh water, a 
river connection is the most natural agency by which to account 
for it ; and as these species are absent from the Lower Nile 
valley and from Egypt, the river connection must have been 
established along the eastern side of the range of highlands, 
which separates the Nile from the Red Sea. Thus it is the aim 
of the present chapter to show that the apparently irreconcil- 
able contradictions of the facts of plant and animal distribution 
become intelligible when the former geological evidence is 
taken into account ; for the recognition of the existence and 
history of the Rift Valley affords a simple explanation of 
the occurrence in Palestine of a colony of the inhabitants of 
Equatorial Africa. 

■• H. C. Hart, Some Account of the Fauna and Flora of Sinai, Petra, and Wady 
Arabah (London, 1891), pp. 123-172. 

* H. B. Tristram, The Fauna and Flora of Palestine (London, 1884), p. xvi. 



" Lep. What manner o' thing is your crocodile? 

Ant. It is shaped, sir, like itself; and it is as broad as it hath breadth : it is just 
so high as it is, and moves with its own organs ; it lives by that which nourisheth it ; 
and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates. 

Lep. What colour is it of? 

Ant. Of its own colour too. 

Lep. 'Tis a strange serpent. 

Ant. 'Tis so. And the tears of it are wet. 

Ccts. Will this description satisfy him ? " — Ant. and Cleop. ii. 7. 

" Nasals entering the nasal aperture ; splenial elements not entering the mandibular 
symphysis, which does not extend beyond the eighth tooth. No bony nasal septum." 
— The Crocodile according to Boulenger {Catalogue of Chelonia). 

Necessity for rapid marching interferes nnore with the study 
of the habits of animals than with any other branch of a 
naturalist's work. While traversing a country at the rate of 
fifteen miles a day, there are few opportunities for the quiet 
observation of animals or of their habits. Besides, in the 
present condition of our knowledge of the African fauna, it is 
generally more profitable to collect than to observe ; so to 
avoid risking the loss of an animal, it is often necessary to 
shoot or capture it at once, instead of quietly watching it at 
work or at play. Unfortunately, too, the only groups of 
animals of which I have any special knowledge are marine. 
For these reasons the present chapter contains only a series of 
somewhat disjointed notes and observations. 

Mammalian life is naturally the first object of interest. In 
the African fauna it holds the most conspicuous position, 
although perhaps not the most instructive. The mind at 
once recalls the giraffe, elephant, lion, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, 


zebra, as well as the numerous species of antelope ; and few scenes 
leave a deeper impression on the imagination of the traveller 
than the great herds of game, gambolling and feeding on the 
vast plains of the interior. 

The relative importance of the great mammals is increased 
by the scarcity of the small ones. This reminds us at once of 
Darwin's famous comparison of the mammalian faunas of 
Africa and South America, when he pointed out that the 
barren steppes of the former are inhabited by vast herds of 
enormous animals, whereas the luxuriant vegetation of the 
latter supports only a few small forms. Darwin's statement of 
the facts is undoubtedly correct, and his conclusions just and 
instructive, but he gave no explanation of the anomaly. This 
may be suggested by describing Africa as the land of migratory 
mammals, instead of that of large mammals. The rains fall at 
two special periods of the year, which differ in different parts of the 
country, and at other times the steppes are burnt and foodless. 
In the dry season the soil is baked into ferruginous brick-like 
loam, so intensely hard that small mammals cannot burrow into 
it. The result is that the only animals that can live are those 
which have sufficiently rapid powers of locomotion to follow the 
rains, or are sufficiently strong to hold their own in the fight 
for water round the pools, or to survive through long periods 
without drinking. Unless animals are followed, one cannot 
realise how far they wander, Harris and I kept on the track 
of a herd of elephant on the Tana, and followed it all the way 
from Merifano till close to the coast. Several times we found 
tracks that could not have been made more than an hour 
previously, and once we heard them trumpeting and playing 
in a swamp beside our camp. But we never caught sight of 
them. The distance we followed them, however — only thirty 
miles — is little compared with that which hunters sometimes 
have to chase a herd, M, Foa, for example, in his recent book,^ 
tells us how he tracked a herd of elephant for seventeen days, 
going as quickly as he could, before he finally came up with it. 
Other animals, such as the buffalo, travel in the same way. 
They walk slowly, feeding as they go, but often journeying 
twenty or thirty miles as the crow flies (or is supposed to fly), 
from one night's resting-place to the next. Only animals of 

^ Edouard Foa, Mes grandes C/iasses dans I'A/nqi/e Centrale (1894), p. 285. 


considerable size can travel such distances, and since these 
journeys are necessary in Africa, the continent has gained the 
name of " the home of large mammals." 

The vast herds of game, however, which once roamed over 
the steppes, are being rapidly reduced in size and number. 
Plains which in the days of Andrew Smith, Oswell, and Gordon 
Gumming were thronged with antelope, are now tenantless, and 
many of the species seem destined soon to follow the quagga 
and white rhinoceros into extinction. Man no doubt has played 
a leading part in the annihilation of the enormous herds that 
once thronged Gape Golony, The fact that, during the last 
few years, the game has retreated from the Somali coast into 
the interior, shows how easily it can be driven from a district. 
Nevertheless I doubt the justice of charging sportsmen with 
the main responsibility for the destruction of the big game. 

In South America a mammalian fauna, much richer than 
that of Africa (for it included no less than fifty-eight genera of 
animals larger than a big dog), has been destroyed since a time 
which, though before the date of the human occupation of the 
continent, was geologically recent. Man has no doubt helped 
to exterminate some species, but his influence has probably 
been insignificant compared with that of natural agencies. 

Lions are abundant on all the game-fields, and Jackson ^ 
and Mackinnon once saw twenty-three in a single herd on the 
Kapte plains. The number of animals such a herd must 
destroy every year is enormous, and disease is probably even 
more effective in the process of destruction. When Jackson ^ 
returned from Uganda in July 1890 he saw, between Baringo 
and Naivasha, herds varying in size from 100 to 600 buffalo 
six times in a single day ; and Teleki,^ while at Njemps in 
January 1888, shot no less than fifty-three individuals in the 

In the same district in 1893 I did not see a single buffalo. 
Five years before the buffalo was almost the commonest of the 
big game in British East Africa. The whole number I saw 
was four — a herd of three in the Tana valley, near Ngatana, and 
a single bull in the valley of the Thika-thika. The explanation 

^ F. J. Jackson in Dig Game Shooting, Badminton Library, vol. i. (1894), p. 245. 

^ Op. cit. p. 217. 

'^ Hohnel, Zum Rudolf-See (1892), pp. 823-824 


has been supplied by Gedge, who followed Jackson a few 
months later. Several times a day his caravan had to diverge 
from its path, to avoid the stench from a rotting carcase — in 
fact he saw fifteen in one day ; but he did not see a single 
living buffalo.^ Cattle disease had swept through the country, 
and destroyed them all. 

The gnu and the giraffe have suffered almost as badly ; I 
only saw one of the former and one herd of the latter, both on 
the Kapte plains ; but in the valley of the Thika-thika I found 
giraffe bones nearly every day, and once saw the remains of 
six skeletons on a single march. Giraffe and gnu are both 
subject to the same disease as the buffalo, and thus in British 
East Africa they have almost shared its fate. 

Another mammal that is now almost extinct is the Square- 
mouthed or Burchell's Rhinoceros {Rhinoceros sivius), which 
differs from the ordinary Rhinoceros bicornis in having the 
mouth square and adapted for browsing, instead of prehensile 
and fitted to feed on leaves and shrubs. This species is only 
certainly known south of the Zambesi, and even there it is 
almost extinct. In marching across Laikipia I came one 
evening upon three rhinoceros together, browsing on the 
steppes. I was attracted by their light gray colour, and 
stalked them. As I approached, I found they differed from 
the ordinary rhinoceros, not only in colour, but in the blunt- 
ness of the head and in the shape of the horn. I had only a 
Martini rifle with me, and had by this time come to the conclusion 
that, in open ground, it was advisable not to attack more than 
one rhinoceros at a time. But I was so interested in these 
three, that I resolved to risk the attempt to secure one. I got 
within about sixty yards, when the birds resting on the backs 
of the animals saw me ; their fluttering and cries disturbed the 
rhinoceros, which fled. I sprang up and sent a bullet into the 
hindmost, but the animal went on. It was late in the after- 
noon, and I was far from camp, so that I could not continue 
the chase. I reported this as soon as I returned to England, 
and before having read von Hohnel's statement " that Count 
Teleki had killed a white rhinoceros a little to the north-east 
of Lake Baringo ; nor did I then know that a horn (now in 

^ Big Game Shooting, Badminton Library, vol. i. (1894), p. 217. 
- Zicm Rudolf-See, p. 542. 


the British Museum), similar to those of the rhinoceros I saw 
in Laikipia, had been brought by a native caravan from this 
district, and described by Dr. Sclater as a new species, under the 
name of R. holnnvoodi. Reports of a similar animal have been 
received from Loango, and it is probable that these rhinoceros 
all belong to a type once widely distributed over Africa, but 
now dying out. The square-mouthed rhinoceros is the nearest 
living ally of the extinct Tichorine or Woolly Rhinoceros 
{Rhinoceros antiqiiitatis), which lived in England when this was 
in a steppe condition at the close of the Glacial period. It is 
interesting, therefore, to find the existing representatives of this 

Fig. 17. — A Bushman Rock-Painting of Burchell's Rhinoceros. 

species persisting in the southern region of Africa, and on the 
high plateaux near the glaciers of Mount Kenya. 

The square-mouthed rhinoceros is often called the " White 
Rhinoceros," as it is identified with that so described by the 
Dutch hunters at the Cape. The two specimens recently shot 
by Mr. Coryndon and sent to England, as also that obtained 
by Mr. A. Eyre in 1895, and now in the Museum at Cape 
Town, are as dark as the common species. In a discussion at 
the Zoological Society Dr. Giinther made the very plausible 
suggestion that the White Rhinoceros of the Dutch may not 
be quite the same as the RJiiiioccros sinius, for the old Dutch 
farmers were not in the habit of calling black animals white. 
The colour of Rhinoceros simus probably varies within the 
same limits as does the common species. It is therefore 


possible that the old " white rhinoceros " is a different and 
extincc species, belonging to the square-mouthed group. 

Though disease unquestionably aids in the work of exter- 
mination, it can scarcely cause the destruction of whole faunas, 
for one malady only seems to attack a few species. We must 
look to some other cause to account for the vast accumulations 
of bones belonging to animals of different species and of different 
habits, from which most of the remains of fossil mammalia have 
been derived. These huge piles of bones have always been a 
puzzle to geologists, for, as Sir Henry Howorth remarks — 
" Nor would any causes we know to be operating now account 
for the caches or heaps of incongruous beasts found in pre- 
cisely the same fresh condition, and yet piled together in 
confused masses. This mixture of animals of different habits 
and habitats— of carnivores, and pachyderms and herbivores — 
is most puzzling, especially when the remains show so often a 
common freshness and an unworn and ungnawed appearance. 
Death certainly has no favourites, and is singularly neutral in 
its methods ; but it does not, in its normal moods at all 
events, collect great mylodons and thickly-hided megatheres, 
nimble opossums and safely-cuirassed glyptodons, cavies and 
mastodons, and kill them together and bury them together."' 

This singular association of bones is one of the arguments 
on which Sir Henry Howorth bases his theory of the destruc- 
tion of the great extinct mammalia by a deluge. On the 
march across Laikipia, however, a different explanation of the 
phenomenon impressed itself forcibly, and even painfully, on 
my mind. The plateau had been described to me as one of the 
richest game-fields in Africa, and I trusted to it to supplement 
our scanty food supply. 

Here and there around a water-hole we found acres of 
ground white with the bones of rhinoceros and zebra, gazelle 
and antelope, jackal and hyena, and among them we once 
observed the remains of a lion. All the bones of the skeletons 
were there, and they were fresh and ungnawed. The explana- 
tion is simple. The year before there had been a drought, 
which had cleared both game and people from the district. 
Those which did not migrate crowded round the dwindling 
pools, and fought for the last drop of water. These accumu- 

1 H. H. Howorth, The Alammoth and the Flood {iZ^j), pp. 345-346. 


lations of bones were therefore due to a drought, and not to a 

My remark in reference to the encounter with the three 
gray-coloured rhinoceros — that I had learnt to leave these 
animals alone when there were more than one — may suggest 
that I regard the rhinoceros as a dangerous beast. Such, 
however, is not the case. I had been told on the coast many 
stories about the savageness of this animal, and the fury with 
which it charges caravans. But Jackson, the most reliable 
authority on East African big game, gives it a different char- 
acter, and my own limited experience entirely confirms his. The 
rhinoceros is really so short-sighted and stupid that with a 
powerful smashing rifle it is the easiest of game to kill, and it 
will always run away if it has time to think the matter over. 
It is only dangerous in dense bush, for it then smells an 
opponent without seeing him, and dashes wildly about in a fit 
of fright and fury. I especially remember a valley to the 
south of Lake Losuguta, where, as we cut our way through 
the thorn jungle, we roused ten rhinoceros in one day. Some 
of them dashed away at once, but others charged the caravan, 
broke through the line, and disappeared into the bush on the 
other side, while a hail of Snider bullets shivered into dust 
upon their skins. Some of the brutes were uncertain of our 
exact position and rushed about, crashing wildly through the 
scrub, and snorting with rage. At these onsets some of the 
men would fling down their loads in terror, and rush for 
the nearest acacia bush to climb it ; others would stand with 
rifles ready, though knowing that at any moment the rhino- 
ceros might charge any one of us, and that as we could not 
see him till he was within a couple of yards, it would then be 
too late to dodge or stop it. This affected the men in very 
different ways ; some of the pluckiest men in the caravan 
were the most alarmed, and some of the most stupid were 
then the steadiest. The former recognised most clearly their 
absolute helplessness, while their livelier imaginations gave 
them a more vivid picture of how they would look when the 
rhinoceros had finished with them. 

That in such positions the rhinoceros is really dangerous 
was shown by the experiences of Mr. Astor Chanler's caravan, 
which at this very same time was trying to work northward 


to Basso Narok, about lOO miles to the east of us. Several of 
his porters were killed by rhinoceros, and Lieut, von Hohnel 
was so seriously wounded that he had to be carried back to 
the coast. 

In open country and in thin scrub the rhinoceros is com- 
paratively harmless, but even there he may be mischievous, 
as I found in my first attempt to hunt this animal. On the 
day of our entry on to the Kapte plains, we saw a rhinoceros 
feeding about a mile from the path. Telling the boy to follow 
with a Snider, I started to stalk it. We found that it was a 
cow with a young one. I succeeded in reaching a fairly good 
position, and was just preparing to fire, when some birds sitting 
upon the back of the animal detected me ; they sprang into 
the air, flapping their wings and uttering a shrill hiss. This 
alarmed the rhinoceros, and it suddenly turned and faced me. 
In this position it was impossible to fire with any effect. So 
I crawled a few yards to the right in the hope of getting a 
side shot. The rhinoceros, however, moved too, and fidgeted 
about between us and its young one. The latter gave a short 
cry, and as the cow turned to look at it, I fired at its back- 
bone. The report of the rifle and the animal's grunt of pain 
roused the bull, which was sleeping in a hollow close by. It 
trotted slowly into a position between us and its mate, and 
stood there until the female and the young one had fled 
to a safe distance up the hill. I waited to see what would 
happen, and kept ready for a side shot at the shoulder when 
the animal turned to follow its family, as I anticipated it 
would do. Instead of this, to my surprise, it suddenly 
charged furiously at us. Its head was held forward and was 
jerking up and down as it ran, so that I could not get a 
satisfactory shot. If I had aimed for the brain, the bullet 
would probably have been deflected by the horns. All I could 
do was to fire at the left cheek, which made the rhinoceros 
swerve to the right and then stop. I turned to get the 
Snider from my boy and give him the Martini to reload, when, 
to my consternation, I found that he had bolted with the 
second rifle and all the cartridges, except one, which I had in 
my hand. My spectacles were misty with perspiration, so I 
took them off and cleaned them. Just as I was replacing 
them the animal, without the slightest warning, charged again, 


and there was nothing for it but to run. I thought I could 
easily escape, for the rhinoceros looked such a slow and 
ungainly beast. I soon found, however, that he could go 
more quickly than I could, and double like a hare, so I 
dodged behind a white- ant- hill into some long grass. My 
pursuer fortunately missed me, caught the scent of my boy, 
and followed him. He soon lost the scent, and then sweeping 
round to the north galloped wildly away after its mate. 

The only animal in the extermination of which man is 
playing the leading part is the elephant. The date of its 
extinction, however, is far distant, for in some districts it is 
still so numerous as to be a serious plague to the inhabi- 
tants. On the borders of the Kikuyu country elephants occur 
in such abundance and do such serious damage to the planta- 
tions, that an elephant-hunter would be welcomed as warmly 
as if he were a mediaeval knight-errant come to do battle with 
the dragon. Lions also are numerous, and do terrible damage 
to the herds. Their tracks occur everywhere ; and though I 
only saw them thrice, I heard them very frequently. 

Lions as a rule appear to be timid, and three of them 
withdrew from the body of a hippopotamus, on which they 
were feeding, rather than allow me to put a bullet into one 
of them. But on another occasion I had an unpleasant 
experience of their audacity when hungry ; for, as described 
on p. 150, they charged the camp at night, and killed two 
donkeys. The power of lions, however, has been much 
exaggerated. Those in Algeria have been reported to leap 
into cattle kraals, seize buffaloes bigger than themselves, and 
then, with their prey in their mouths, leap over ten-foot 
palings, and run away at full speed for miles. Neither of the 
lions I saw could have performed such a feat. Yet their 
slouching style of movement gives them an aspect of immense 
muscular strength ; and the catalogue of accidents in lion- 
shooting shows that its dangers are not to be lightly esti- 
mated. It has been denied that lions can kill animals as 
large as the rhinoceros or hippopotamus ; but that they can 
do so we found on the Thika-thika. Three lions had sur- 
prised a hippopotamus in some long grass about thirty yards 
from the river ; there had been a desperate fight, in which 
the grass had been trampled down for yards around, but the 


hippopotamus had finally succumbed to loss of blood ; its 
skin was terribly scratched by claws and teeth, and the lower 
part of the neck had been torn away. The hippopotamus was 
about two-thirds grown, and its skull (which I brought back 
to London) measured 19 inches in length. 

Most of the larger mammals in British East Africa do not 
seem to adopt any especially protective colouring, but trust 
for safety to their speed, and to a good outlook against their 
foes. Many of the antelope when feeding have some of the 
herd posted as sentries, to watch for the approach of danger. 
These outposts may often be seen standing on an ant-hill ; 
thfey do their duty so efficiently that it is generally difficult to 
stalk the herd. In some cases, however, a coloration, which 
at first sight would appear to render the animals extremely 
conspicuous, is found to be really protective. Thus the 
monkey Colobus occidentalis is covered with a long silky fur 
arranged in alternate stripes of black and white, so hand- 
some that the skin is much prized by the Masai for making 
head ornaments. The contrast of black and white is so 
marked, that at first sight it would seem to preclude con- 
cealment, but its value is at once evident when the animal is 
seen at home. This monkey lives in the high forests of 
Abyssinia, Kenya, Kilima Njaro, and Settima, where the 
trees have black trunks and branches, draped with long gray 
masses of beardmoss or lichen. As the monkeys hang from 
the branches they so closely resemble the lichen, that I found 
it impossible to recognise them when but a short distance 

The ornamentation of the zebra was also a puzzle to me 
till I saw them at home. The ordinary explanation of striped 
animals, such as the tiger, is that the stripes resemble bands of 
light seen through tall grasses and jungle. But this is not 
applicable to the zebra, which lives in open plains. Watch the 
zebra on these, however, and the value of the coloration is 
apparent. At a distance of from 250 to 300 yards the stripes 
of the East African species {Equus boeJwii) cease to be visible, 
and the animal appears of a dull gray colour, like that with 
which warships are painted to render them inconspicuous. In 
dull cloudy weather, and especially at dawn and sunset, which 
are the most dangerous times for game, the zebra is practically 



invisible at a distance of over 500 yards. In bright sunshine, 
in the middle of the day, I have seen a herd of them at a 
distance of over three miles ; but that is not the time when 
their enemies prey upon them, and then their visibility involves 
little risk. 

It is, however, among the insects that cases of protective 
resemblance are most abundant. Insects shaped like seed-pods 
and leaf-buds, like lichen and dried sticks, or coloured like leaves 
and rocks, were met with nearly every day. They are too well 
known to need description, but two cases may be mentioned. 

One case was met with during our return march from the 
first expedition. Strolling one evening out of the camp at 
Kurawa, I was startled by a hissing noise like that of a snake 
coming from a clump of grass. As I was wearing knicker- 
bockers and tennis shoes, I sprang back and pelted the grass 
with handfuls of sand. As this did not drive out the supposed 
snake, I cautiously approached, peering into the clump. I 
could just detect a small green head among the stalks, and 
behind this appeared, whenever the noise was repeated, an 
expansion like the hood of a cobra. I tried to kill the animal 
by a few sharp blows with my stick behind the head, and 
one of these knocked it over. I then found that I had been 
frightened by a big grasshopper, which, by puffing out its 
wings, assumed a resemblance to the shape of the head of a 
hooded snake ; while its noise was a good imitation of the dull, 
jerky hiss of some species of snakes. 

The second case was more remarkable. I was working 
through the woods beside the Kibwezi river with Mr. Watson, 
one of the missionaries at the station there, when my attention 
was attracted by a large brightly-coloured flower, like a fox- 
glove or a TinncBa (see Frotitispiece). It had been raining heavily, 
and the vegetation was so sodden with moisture that collecting 
was useless ; I should have passed the specimen by had not 
I noticed some small, white, fluffy patches below the flower. 
These appeared to be lichen, of a kind which does not usually 
grow on flower stems ; I therefore pushed my stick through the 
bush to pull the flower towards me ; as soon as my stick 
touched it, to my great surprise, the flowers and buds jumped 
off in all directions. 



There were several similar clusters close by, and when Mr. 
Watson came up I pointed one out to him and asked him if 
he had determined to what genus it belonged. He said he 
had not done so, but that he had seen it before, growing in 
these woods. He attempted to pick it, and was as surprised as 
I had been at the result. 

The arrangement of the colony, with the green bud-like 
form at the top of the stem, and the pink flower-like insects 
below, looked so much like an inflorescence that it deceived 
both of us, although Mr. Watson is an enthusiastic botanist. 

Whether the insects can resume this arrangement on the 
stem if they are once disturbed I cannot tell. Though we sat 
and watched beside them for an hour, they made no attempt to 
return to the stem. The insects were very sluggish, and simply 
clung to the leaves on which they first alighted. As a rule the 
members of this genus can fly well, but these seemed only able 
to hop for a few inches ^t a time, and would not move if they 
could help it. It may be that the insects were only rendered 
sluggish by the cold and rain ; but it appears not unlikely that 
the members of this species have very limited powers of flight, 
and secured protection from birds by this ingenious mimicry of 
a cluster of flowers. The colony resembled very closely some 
species of Tinncea, a genus which grows in this district ; and 
Dr. Rudolf Schlechter tells me that it is even more like a 
Transvaal plant, which he names Sesamopteris pentapJiylla, DC. 

At the time I was much puzzled, for mistaking the lichen- 
like form for the larva of a beetle, I thought the pseudo- 
inflorescence was formed by three distinct species. My 
colleague Mr. C. J. Gahan, however, identified the insects as 
members of the hemipterous genus Plata, and on examining 
specimens in the British Museum we found that the larva 
belonged to the same genus.^ 

The arrangement is therefore intelligible : a female has 

^ The mimicry of the larva is now well known, as a colony of the larvae of an allied 
species [Flata limbata) has been placed by Sir William Flower in the mimicry cases in 
the Natural History Museum, to illustrate their resemblance to lichens. Mr. W. F. 
Kirby has kindly called my attention to a translation of a paper by M. C. Piepers, ' ' On 
the Habits of East Indian Insects, especially Lepidoptera," in his Handbook to the Order 
Lepidoptera (Nat. Libr. vol i. , 1894, pp. Ixii.-Lxxiv. ) In this Piepers describes how two 
rings of the orange butterfly Callidryas scylla, L. , surrounded five white species of the 
genus Pieris, giving rise to a group, which was at first mistaken for an orange-coloured 


laid her eggs on a stalk, gradually walking up it as she did so. 
The eggs at the same height on the stem are thus of about the 
same age ; the lowest eggs are hatched first, and the insects 
there are accordingly adult while those above are still 
immature. This does not account for the occurrence of the 
larvae at the base, which is inexplicable to me, unless they 
belong to another generation. 

This assumes that the green bud-like and the pink flower- 
like forms belong to the same species, Mr. Gahan has kindly 
sorted the specimens into male and female, and found that the 
colour difference is not sexual. Thus on the Frontispiece^ Fig. 
2b shows the male, and Figs. 2a and 3 the female form ; these 
may be distinguished by the greater length of the transverse 
mark on the hinder margin of the fore -wings of the male. 
The same difference occurs between the sexes of the green 

In every respect, except colour, the two forms are identical, 
and it therefore seems most probable that they are dimorphic 
forms of one species, which is Plata nigrocincta (Walker). 

Another point which interested me in reference to insect 
coloration was the influence of the different capacities for the 
absorption of heat possessed by different colours. A black object 
becomes more heated than a white one, when both are exposed 
under the same conditions. An insect has so much surface in 
proportion to its bulk, that dark-coloured species are heavily 
handicapped when exposed to the intense sun of the tropics. 
This is the simple explanation of the fact, which impressed 
itself upon me as soon as I began to collect butterflies — that 
the light -coloured species fly in the daytime, and the dark 
ones in early morning and at dusk. I made considerable 
collections at Ngatana, at all hours of the day, to test this point. 
Thus on 30th January, I began collecting at 5.45 A.M., and 
found only species which are mainly of dark brown colour, 
such as Hypoliinnas misippus, Linn., and Jimonia clelia, Cram. 
At 6.30 a reddish brown species {Lininas klugi, Butl.) began to 
appear, and this was the only species caught during the next 
half-hour, though this was abundant. A little before half-past 
seven a light brown species, Acroia ccecilia, Fabr., made their 
appearance, followed immediately by numbers of light-coloured 
butterflies, such as Teracolus syrtinus, Butl., which is all white 


except for a red tip to the wings, and Catopsile pyrene, 
Swains., which is wholly of a light creamy white. The dark- 
brown forms disappeared from the open steppes before seven, 
and they were followed into obscurity by the light brown 
Limnas, of which not a single specimen could be found during 
the heat of the day. Then the open " barra " was tenanted 
only by white and light-coloured species. 

This rule, however, is not universal, for other factors modify 
it. Thus in dull, cloudy weather the dark-coloured forms fly 
abroad all day ; while some species of rapid flight habitually 
do so, such as many of the swallow-tail butterflies. Papilio 
demoleus, Linn., for example, a common species in the Sabaki 
and Tana valleys, was met with at all times of day ; but it 
lived mainly under trees, darting out across open places from 
one shady place to another. 

In connection with birds, the most interesting point ob- 
served was the presence of some of the Kilima Njaro species 
on the meadows around the glaciers of Kenya ; these have been 
identified by Dr. Bowdler Sharpe as Nectarinia joJinstoni, 
Shell., and PinarocJiroa hypospadia, Shell. 

The birds on the Lower Tana were only typical examples 
of the East African coast forms, such as the Grossbeck 
i^Melaiiobucco melaiioptcnis), and numerous Weaver birds of the 
genus Hypanto7'nis ; and on the march inland, neither time nor 
cartridges could be spared for them. Of the latter I hoped 
to make better use on Laikipia, where the drought, however, 
had cleared the district, and a vulture was the only bird seen 
until we approached the Kikuyu frontier. But elsewhere birds 
were abundant ; wild duck swarmed on the fresh-water lakes ; 
enormous flocks of flamingoes {PhcE7iicopte7'us roseus, Pall.) 
lived on the salt-lakes of the Rift Valley ; guinea-fowl and 
pigeons were common in the woods. An interesting adaptation 
in form is met with on the open plains, where many of the 
birds have long tail feathers, which flutter in the wind like the 
tail of a kite, and aid in the balance needed for flight against 
the powerful winds that sweep across the steppes. 

As reptiles can be preserved without the expenditure of 
time involved in skinning birds, I lost no opportunity of 
collecting them. The members of this group of most general 


interest are the crocodiles, and the same feeling was roused in 
me by Bird Thompson's thrilling stories. He had seen a good 
deal of these reptiles during his journeys on the Tana, which he 
described as simply paved with them. I had been taught in 
England to regard crocodiles as harmless bogies. In some 
places this estimate is no doubt true, but in others, facts are 
not in accord with it. In the Tana the crocodiles are of great 
size, and are certainly not to be despised. In some parts of 
the Ozi, if I leant my arm on the side of the canoe, the 
Pokomo canoe men left off paddling, declaring that a crocodile 
would seize me and capsize the canoe. That this was no idle 
fancy of the natives I learnt afterwards from Thompson. He 
was once coming down the Tana with a Pokomo boy, whom he 
had adopted, when a crocodile suddenly caught hold of the 
boy and dragged him overboard. The whole thing was over 
in an instant. No one saw the crocodile until its snout 
suddenly jerked out of the water, and at once the crocodile 
had disappeared and the boy was gone. There was a ripple 
on the water, but neither boy nor beast was ever seen again. 
During the ascent of the Tana by the stern-wheel steamer 
Kenia in 1891, Thompson had many unpleasant experiences of 
crocodiles. Several times when porters were going to the 
river for water, one was seized by the leg and dragged into the 

The Tana Wa-pokomo regard the crocodiles as their most 
deadly foe, and strive to wage a war of extermination against 
them. To encourage this, no man is allowed to marry until 
he has killed a crocodile. The animals are surprised when 
asleep on the bank, and killed with spears ; but the work is 
rather dangerous, and inexperienced men are frequently knocked 
over by a blow from the reptile's tail, and dragged into the river. 
On land crocodiles are generally timid ; they lie close beside the 
water and slip into it at the slightest suspicion of danger ; but 
when hungry they are more daring, and a child, asleep in the 
verandah of the mission station of Jilore, was recently carried 
away by one. In the water they are very courageous. I was 
once fishing in the river at Ngatana, from a bank about six feet 
above it, when the chief came and warned me not to sit so near 
the water, as a crocodile might knock me into it by a blow with 
its tail. From politeness I moved a yard away from the edge 


of the bank until the chief was out of sight ; but the danger 
seemed so fanciful, that I thought my old friend merely wished 
to speak to me, and could think of nothing else to say. Later 
on, however, I found that the natives of other Pokomo villages 
attribute the same power to the crocodile, and the German 
missionaries at Ngao knew of cases where people had been thus 
swept into the river and killed. The natives on the Nile told 
Sir Samuel Baker the same story, and it is hardly likely 
that it would have been independently invented in two such 
distant localities, and by such different tribes, if it had no basis 
in fact. 

Reports as to the size of crocodiles vary greatly. Lieut. 
Giraud ^ shows a figure of one, which, on the most moderate 
computation, must have been 4 feet high and 30 feet long, 
while Werner ^ states that he saw specimens on the Congo 
50 feet in length. I saw no such fine creatures as these. 
The normal length of the adults on the Tana was from 10 
to 1 2 feet, but a few were perhaps 3 feet longer. In the 
rivers of the Rift Valley they were even smaller, and 
certainly less dangerous. When we had to cross a river, 
if there were crocodile tracks on the bank, we fired a few 
shots into the water, shouted, and splashed about, and then 
plunged in freely. Further precautions were only once or twice 
taken, where the river was swift, muddy, and deep, and the 
signs of the crocodile exceptionally abundant. 

In the shallow jungle-filled swamps of Baringo, crocodiles, 
varying from 3 to 6 feet in length, are so numerous as to 
remind me of Bates's statement that the caymans in some 
of the upper tributaries of the Amazon are as abundant as 
tadpoles in an English ditch. These small Baringo crocodiles 
live on water-fowl, and seem afraid of anything larger. We 
soon learned their harmlessness and timidity, and went into the 
swamps and pulled out the ducks we had shot without hesita- 
tion. Yet even in this district the natives have an ingrained 
terror of crocodiles ; our local guide would never go into 
the water if he could hel^ it, and then only after taking 
elaborate precautions. Hence it is probable that the deeper 
pools of the rivers of the Baringo basin are haunted by 

^ V. Giraud, Les Lacs de I' Afrique ^quatoriale (1890), p. 441. 
- J. R. Werner, River Life on the Congo (1889), pp. 184-185. 


crocodiles of a larger size, which levy a death tribute from 
the unhappy natives. The cumulative effect of repeated 
fatalities has apparently led to a hereditary fear, which the 
visitor who only hears of casual accidents finds it difficult to 



" Even in thy desert, what is hke to thee? 
Thy very weeds are beautiful." — Byron. 

In Chap. XIII. reference has been made to the interest of the 
Alpine flora of Equatorial Africa, in its bearing on the problems 
of plant distribution, and the past climatic history of that 
region. The floras of the coast -lands and of the interior 

^ Note on the Literature. — As the exploration of Eastern Equatorial Africa began in 
districts which are now included in the German sphere, the knowledge of the botany 
of British East Africa has lagged far behind that of the regions to the south. 

The three first important collections were made by Grant (1860-63) in the Victoria 
Nyanza basin ; by von der Decken in 1859-61 (described by Ascherson in 1879) in the 
coast regions and the Tana delta; and by Hildebrandt (in 1B78) in the Taita Mts. 
and Ukamba. The next additions were made in the Rift Valley and on its adjacent 
plateaux by Fischer (1882-83) ^"d Thomson (1883-84). The collections of the latter were 
described by Sir J. D. Hooker in a remarkable paper, in which, from comparatively 
limited data, he drew conclusions as to the affinities of the flora, which have been con- 
firmed by all later work. Extensive additions to the flora of the Rift Valley and Laikipia 
were made by Teleki and von Hohnel in 1887-88 (described by Schweinfurth, C. Miiller, 
J. Miiller, and Stephani). Important collections from the great central basin have been 
made by Stuhlmann (1890-91), Baumann (1891-93), and Scott-Elliot (1894) ; the small 
but instructive collection made by Stairs in 1889 may also be mentioned. Rev. W. E. 
Taylor has added greatly to the knowledge of the plants of Mombasa Island and Giriama. 
South of the Anglo-German frontier much more work has been done. .Sir John Kirk 
early collected in Zanzibar and in adjoining parts of the mainland. Decken, New, 
Thomson, etc., made small collections from Kilima Njaro, from which adequate collec- 
tions were first made by H. H. Johnston in 1884 (List by Oliver and Baker, 1886). 
Since the country passed into the possession of Germany, our knowledge of its flora has 
made vast strides by a number of botanists organised by Engler. His Ueber die Hochge- 
birgsflora des tropischen Afrika 1893 (1894), and Ueber die Gliederung der Vegetation von 
Usambara und der a?igrensenden Gebicte 1894 (1895) ; the Die Pflanzenwelt Ost-Afrikas 
iind der Nachbargebiete 1895, and the series of papers in Engler's Botanische Jahrbiicher, 
" Beitrage zur Flora von Afrika" (Pts. i.-xi., 1891-95), are unquestionably the most 
thorough and scientific works yet carried out in Equatorial Africa. For the floras of 
Abyssinia and British Central Africa, which help to link the Alpine flora of Kenya with 
those to the north and south, reference may be made to the great monograph of Richard 
(1847) for the former, and the memoir by Britten, Baker, and Rendle on the flora of 
Milanji (1894). 


plateau are less important in this respect than that of the 
meadows beside the glaciers and around the snow-fields of the 
higher peaks ; nevertheless they yield interesting evidence as 
to the factors that govern distribution, and striking examples of 
the adaptation of plants to conditions of rainfall, soil, and 

Taken as a whole, the flora of British East Africa at first 
sight seems poor and commonplace — very different from the 
usual conception of tropical vegetation. There is no vast 
expanse of dense forest, in which the trees are buried below in 
a matted jungle of undergrowth, and laced together above 
by twining creepers and lianas, while the trunks are adorned 
by epiphytic orchids, bearing flowers of exquisite form or 
powerful odour. 

Instead of this wild luxuriance, the vegetation is sparse, 
the flowers are small and insignificant, wild edible fruits are 
rare, and the flora appears disappointing, dull, and monotonous. 
Of course there are exceptions. Belts of dense forest occur on 
the alluvial plains bordering the rivers, and in the zones of per- 
ennial rain on the mountains of the interior, while the swamps 
on the coast are covered with acres of blue-flowered lotus-water- 
lily, or Yungi-yungi, and tiny yellow bladderwort {Utricularid). 
Neither is the country wholly lacking in plants of quaint form 
or interesting habit, for there are the trailing rubber vines 
{Landolplna) and rope-like lianas; the screw-pines {Pandatius) 
with huge spiral rosettes of leaves, and trunks balanced on 
the apex of a cone of aerial roots ; baobabs {Adansonia 
digitata, Linn.) with massive soft trunks and irregular knobbed 
branches ; silk -cotton trees {Bojnbax sp.) with graceful stems 
and rectangular branches, and forests of branching dum palms 
{Hyp/ueiie thebaica. Mart.) These, however, are exceptions, 
and, as a rule, the vegetation is commonplace in aspect and 
ordinary in structure. 

Most of the plants above mentioned are confined to the 
coast zone, and there they are associated with others which, 
as on Mombasa island, form a vegetation of exquisite beauty 
and more typical of the tropics. But a few miles inland 
there is a sudden change in the flora. The coast plants, the 
palms, mangoes, and fruit orchards disappear ; they are replaced 
by huge candelabra -shaped euphorbias with thick succulent 


stems, by sharp-spiked aloes, saw-leaved sansevieras, and a wide 
expanse of thorny acacia scrub. But in spite of its unfamiliar 
appearance, the wide range and monotony of this flora soon 
render it tiresome. Here and there, it is true, there is a break ; 
a belt of forest occurs beside a river ; a jungle of shrubs crowns 
the summit of a ridge, or a tract of wood and turf covers a lava 
sheet. But the contrast of these oases only intensifies the 
dreary dulness of the surrounding plains, where day after day, 
week after week, there is nothing to be seen but the same few 

At length there comes another change, as striking as the 
first, but more pleasing. As the land rises to a higher level, 
where the rainfall is heavier and more evenly distributed 
throughout the year, the spiny-leaved scrub is replaced by 
shrubs with luxuriant green foliage, the tufts of grass of the 
desert thicken to a fine rich turf, meadow flowers of European 
genera cheer the traveller with home associations, and forests 
of fine timber trees give him welcome shade from the tropical 

Throughout the whole country, however, the general aspect 
of the vegetation, taken in mass, is remarkably similar to that 
of temperate regions. Both the scrub of the plains and the 
shrubs of the plateaux, when seen in mass from a little 
distance, appears much like the bushes and pollards of our 
woodlands. The grasses and the tussocks of rush and sedge 
resemble those of England in form and habit, and in the 
interior many, such as the reed-mace {TypJia angustifolia, L.) 
and the common rush {/uncus cffusus, L.), are the familiar 
British species. 

A superficial examination of the East African flora is 
sufficient to show that it occurs in zones which, as a rule, run 
parallel to the coast. These zones correspond with those based 
on geological and geographical considerations (seep. 222), except 
among the higher mountains, where the cold and rainfall have 
induced a local, zonal arrangement on a somewhat different 
plan. The three lower divisions, viz. the coast plain or 
" temborari," the first inland plateau or Nyika — including the 
primitive mountain axis as a subzone, — and the high grass 
plateaux or Rangatan of the interior, are as well marked 
botanically as geographically. The forest belt of the lower 


slopes of Kenya, of the uplands of Kikuyu, and of the summit 
of the scarp of Mau, belong to a fourth zone, corresponding 
less exactly to the geographical division, which includes the 
chain of volcanic mountains. Above this there are four 
other zones, the limits of which are due in the main to tem- 
perature and moisture. The botanical zones are therefore 
as follows :— 

Zone. Characterised by 

1. Coastal Plain . . Palms, mangroves, etc. 

2. Foot-hills . . . Fruit-trees and herbs of species common 

round shores of Indian Ocean. 

3. Nyika .... Acacia scrub, succulent trees and herbs. 

4. Rangatan . . . Flowers and shrubs allied to those of Abys- 

sinia and the Cape. 

5. Mountain Forest . . Podocarpus, junipers, blackberries, stinging 

nettles, etc. 

6. Bamboo . . . Dense thickets of bamboo. 

7. Lower Alpine . . Tree heaths. Gladiolus, Alcheniilla, and a 

tree lobelia (Z. deche7iii). 

8. Upper Alpine . . Tree groundsels, tree lobelias, and heaths. 

9. Snow-fields . . .A few Helichrysian and lichens.^ 

I. Tlie Coast Zone. — The Coast Zone contains most novelties 
to the European visitor. Its most characteristic plants are the 
palms and the mangroves. The prevalent species of the former 
on the sandhills of the coast, and in the plantations of the 
Arab merchants, is the Coco-Nut Palm {Cocos nucifera, Linn.), 
which is to the East African what the reindeer is to the Lapp. 
He feeds on its nut and leaf-buds, drinks its milk and sap, and 
lives in huts made from its timber and leaves. He weaves its 
fibres into cloth, or twists it into rope, and makes the shells of 
the nuts into spoons and ladles ; while he derives his main 
income from the export of the dried kernel or " kopra." 

^ Since this chapter was written, Engler has published a detailed memoir (" Ueber 
die Gliederung der Vegetation von Usambara und der angrenzenden Gebiete," Phys. 
Abh. k. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1894 (1895), PP- 1-86) on the distribution of the plants in 
part of German East Africa, which he divides into eight zones. The correspondence of 
these zones to those here adopted is shown by the following table : — 

I. Coast Land . . . • ) /- . 1 t-.i • 

Coastal Plam. 


2. Creek Zone .... 

3. Bushland of the Jur,assic Rocks 

4. Nyika ..... 

5. Bushy Steppes of the Vorland . 

6. Tropical Mountain Forest 

7. Parts of higher uplands with few or "1 „ 

^ \ Rangatan. 

no trees ..... J *= 

8. High Mountain Forests . . . Mountain Forest Zone. 

Nyika (zones 5 and 6 being regarded as 
fertile parts of the great Nyika plains). 


The coco-nut palm, however, is more restricted in distri- 
bution than in utility. The natives have a proverb that it will 
not grow out of sight of the sea ; this is practically correct, 
although we found a grove at Charra on the Tana, a day's 
march from the coast, and the missionaries have also planted 
some trees a day farther inland at Borabini, where they 
yield, however, only a scanty crop of fruit. The coco-nut 
palm is replaced in the interior by the branching Dum Palm 
{HypJia^ne thebaica, Mart.), known to the Suahili as the 
" mlala." It forms dense forests a few miles from the sea, and 
extends for a considerable distance inland along the banks of 
the larger rivers ; in British East Africa, for example, it 
occurs at Tzavo, 130 miles up the course of the Sabaki, and 
there is a small clump of dwarfed forms at the southern end of 
Basso Narok.^ Emin ^ reports them in the Nile Valley as far 
south as Lado in latitude 5°'20 N. In full-grown specimens 
of this palm the stem bifurcates, and each branch may divide 
again once or twice, so that it appears very different in form 
from the familiar coco-nut or date palms. The fruit consists of 
a cluster of hard brown nuts (more correctly drupes), which 
in colour and taste resemble ginger-bread full of chopped-up 
horse-hair. People who have been accustomed to this as food 
seem able to thrive on it, but to others it is poison. Our 
men on the Tana would at first insist on eating it, but as 
it led to severe attacks of dysentery we had to prohibit its 

The third palm common on the coast zone is the most grace- 
ful of the three — the Borassiis flabellifer, Linn., the " mvuma " 
of the Suahili, the " doleb " of the Nile, and generally known as the 
Palmyra Palm. Its most striking feature is the spindle-shaped 
stem, which is thickest at about half its height from the ground, 
and tapers both to root and crown. In Eastern British East 
Africa it does not appear to extend far inland ; I did not see it 
farther from the sea than a little above our camp at Vuju on 
the Tana. It occurs, however, on the Nile farther south than 
the dum palm, for Emin^ found it at Dufile, a short distance 
to the north of Mwutan Nzige (the Albert Nyanza). 

The only palms that seem to thrive in the interior are a 

^ Shown in Hohnel's view, Zum Rudolf-See, p. 705. 
- Emin Pasha in Cetit>-al Africa (1888), p. 401. ^ Ibid. p. 11. 


species of wild date {Phcenix sp.), known to the Zanzibari as 
the " mkindu " (from which the river to the north of Kibwezi 
takes its name), and a water palm {Raffia sp.), both of which 
occur along the rivers of Kikuyu and Ukamba. 

After the palms, the mangroves (mainly belonging to the 
species Rhi^^opJiora imicronata, Lam., and Bruguiera gyninor- 
rhiza, L.) form the most striking feature in the coast flora. They 
grow in dense, jungly masses, bordering the estuaries and tidal 
creeks. The trees usually grow in the water, but the whole of 
the trunk is raised above it by a series of adventitious roots ; 
it therefore appears as if the tree were supported on a many- 
legged stand. The most interesting point about the plant is 
the method by which it prevents its seeds falling by the way- 
side, and restricts them within the narrow belt in which alone 
they can grow. If the seeds were scattered on the surface 
of the estuary, the currents would either cast them ashore or 
wash them into water too deep for them to root in. The seeds 
therefore germinate while attached to the tree. The radicle 
grows into a thick solid spike, eight or ten inches in length, 
which, when released from its attachment to the parent, falls 
with sufficient force to drive the spike firmly into the mud 
beneath. The seeds therefore secure a suitable soil, and stow 
into dense thickets along the shore between the tide lines. 

A third conspicuous feature in the coast flora came rather 
as a surprise. In front of the Residency at Lamu there are 
some specimens of that typically Australian tree, the She-Oak or 
Casiiarhia. These had obviously been planted artificially, so 
I thought no more of the matter. But on returning to the 
coast at Marereni, there we found on the headland a clump of 
these graceful feathery trees. Subsequently I noticed them in 
similar positions at all the points on the coast where I landed, 
as far south as Natal. The Suahili proverb, quoted on p. 237, 
shows that the natives have noticed the very restricted belt in 
which the she-oak can live, for Kisauni is on an estuary about 
a mile from the sea : their cones must have been carried from 
Australia by the West Australian and the " Equatorial Drift " 
currents, and washed upon the shore. They thus form an im- 
pressive lesson on the action of the sea as an agent in plant 

2. The Foot-hills. — Accepting the palms and the man- 


groves as the typical forms of the coast zone, it is necessary to 
make a separate zone for the " Foot-hills " that occur in most 
places between the coast plains and the inland plateau. As, 
however, most of the shrubs and herbs on these hills are the 
same as those on the lower zone, except when directly due to 
difference of soil, this belt is not very important. The most 
striking feature in this zone is the abundance of fruit-trees, 
most of which, however, have been introduced. Thus the 
mango [Mangifcra indica, Linn.) and the betel-nut palm {Areca 
catechu, Linn.) have been imported from India ; the cashew- 
nut tree {Anacardiiim occidentale, Linn.) and the papaw {Carica 
papaya, Linn.) from South America. The Jack-fruit {Artocar- 
piis integrifolia, Linn.) represents the bread-fruit tree of the 
South Sea Islands ; while the orange, lime, lemon, custard- 
apple, pomegranate, pine-apple, and guava are included among 
the debts which East Africa owes to the Arab settlers. , 

Among the indigenous plants there is a considerable pro- 
portion of Indian species, for the flora of both the lower zones 
contains many plants, common round the shores of the Indian 
Ocean. The specific names of some of the commonest, such 
as Cephalandra indica, Naud., Abutilon asiaticum, G. Don., 
Glycine javanica^ Linn., and CentroscDia virginianuni^ Benth., 
indicate the affinities of this flora. 

3. The Nyika. — The third botanical zone commences at 
the summit of the slope that terminates the coast plains. Thence 
it extends inland for a great distance, occupying the whole of 
the " Nyika " and the gneiss mountains that rise above it. The 
differences between the flora of this zone and that of the coast- 
lands force themselves upon the notice of the most casual 
observer. Fruit-trees disappear, palms become scarce, the 
shady mango trees and sycamores are replaced by thin loose 
scrub. The main characteristics of this zone are the prevalence 
of spine- leaved acacias, and plants with massive succulent 
stems or leaves, such as the aloes, euphorbias, Sanscviera, and 
Arisiolochia. The acacia scrub extends across the country for 
hundreds of miles. The trees as a rule are low (usually from 
10 to 20 feet in height), flat-topped, and often umbrella- 
shaped. At times they grow so close together that a path has 
to be cut through them ; as the scrub is thorny, and the 
undergrowth consists of hideously - barbed briers and of 


" nkonge " (aloes and Sansevierd) with leaves pointed like 
bayonets or edged like saws, the work is severe. Elsewhere 
the scrub is thinner, and the traveller marches for days over a 
sandy plain, with here and there a thorn bush, and here and 
there tufts of hard dry grass. In the more fertile regions a 
few baobabs raise their knobby leafless branches above the 
scrub ; beside the streams some large acacias spread out their 
flat cedar- like branches ; but these are so exceptional that 
camps where they occur are generally named after them — 
Mbiiyuni (" At the Baobabs "), or Mkuyuni (" At the Acacias "). 
Occasionally the vegetation is richer — where the decomposi- 
tion of lava sheets has formed a fertile soil, where hills rise 
above the plain and collect a larger proportion of the rain than 
is their due, or where the springs maintain permanent water- 
pools. On the hills are dense growths of woody flowering 
shrubs, yellow marigolds and AcanthacecE, feathery asparagus 
and wild bananas ; around the pools are dense belts of reeds, 
rushes, and sedges, and upon them float the light-green, 
cabbage -shaped rosettes of Pistia stratiotes^ and filamentous 
growths of Lagarosiphon. Such oases, however, break the 
monotony of the Nyika but rarely, and most of this zone is 
occupied by thin thorn scrub and sandy plains, and from the 
summits of hillocks the eye ranges over a vast expanse of 
flat-topped trees. 

During the rainy season, however, a change comes for a 
while over the Nyika. The whole country is then sodden 
with moisture ; the paths, which have generally been worn into 
hollows, are occupied by streams ; the valleys are converted 
into swamps. The vegetation suddenly appears to wake up ; 
the baobabs burst into flower and then into leaf ; the grass 
becomes green ; creepers climb over the acacias and cover 
them with a mass of large white flowers, among which the 
convolvulus is especially conspicuous. But as soon as the 
rains cease, the Nyika reverts to its normal condition. The 
grass withers, the undergrowth dies and disappears, prairie fires 
break out and sweep across the country, and the traveller has to 
march for days over charred, blackened wastes, which a month 
before had been green with turf and gorgeous with flowers. 

The most remarkable feature in the flora of the " Nyika " 
is its specialisation to resist desiccation and death during long 


periods of drought. It is modified to enable it to survive the 
hot dry season in four different ways, each based on the principle 
of reducing the loss of moisture in " transpiration." The 
simplest contrivance is that adopted by the h-A.oh-dhi^Adansonid)^ 
the leaves of which remain on the tree only during the rainy 
season. A second plan is used by many of the acacias, in 
which the leaves are reduced to mere spines or needles, the 
fleshy tissue being lost, and only the veins or "vascular bundles" 
left. A third arrangement for the same end is the reduction 
of the surface of the leaf in proportion to its mass ; thus the 
leaf becomes thick and succulent, and the number of " stomata" 
(or pores through which moisture can escape) lessened, as in the 
fibre-yielding plants, such as the aloe and Sanseviera. The 
last and extreme method is the entire disappearance of the 
leaves, which are represented only by thorns and spines, while 
respiration is effected by the green succulent stem. The loss 
of moisture from the plant is therefore greatly reduced, for the 
surface on which it can take place is small in comparison with 
that exposed on a leaf-bearing tree. The plant secures, in fact, 
a minimum of surface with a maximum of mass. The thick 
succulent stems, moreover, contain special stores of moisture, 
and reservoirs of milky juice or " latex," which, being confined 
in special vessels or elongated cells (tracheides), can only escape 
by the slow process of exosmosis. The plants in which this 
adaptation has been developed are the most remarkable- 
looking in East Africa. Such are the species oi Aristolochia, a 
genus which has one representative — the birthwort {A. cleniatitis, 
Linn.) — established in England ; the forms in the Nyika are 
huge spherical bulbs, sometimes 3 feet in diameter, from 
which long trailing branches, armed with thick spines, spread 
over the ground. The bulb is full of juice ; this is reported 
to be very poisonous, and the only animals that attack the plant 
are the ants. The Spurges {EupJiorbiacecB) offer a still better 
illustration, for they occur in two very different types. In the 
grass plains, as on Laikipia, this family is represented by small 
herbs, with leaves and structure like the common spurges of 
our woods and fields ; but in the Nyika, the species (such as 
Ejiphorbia NyikcB, Pax.) are lofty candelabra-shaped trees, from 
30 to 60 feet in height, with thick succulent stems like 
the cactus. In other places, as in the Baringo basin, a closely 


allied genus forms hedges and thickets, which can only be 
traversed at some risk ; for the spines are sharp and brittle, 
and if they run into the flesh they break off, and deposit an 
acrid juice which causes ulceration. The plant is useful, how- 
ever, medicinally ; the Zanzibari, who know it by the name of 
" mtepu," as well as the native Njempsians, chew the young 
shoots, in order to benefit by the gently purgative properties 
of the latex. 

The mountains that rise above the Nyika, such as those of 
Taita and Iveti, at first sight appear to have a very different 
flora, owing to the prevalence of woody flowering shrubs, which 
form a dense jungle from 8 to 10 feet in height. But the 
smaller flowering plants, which, from the point of view of 
geographical distribution, are the more important, contain so 
large a proportion of dwarf representatives of the plants of the 
valleys and the plains, that it appears best to leave these 
mountains as a subzone of the Nyika. An occasional screw- 
pine {Paudanus) or a dragon-tree {Draccena) even remind 
the visitor of the vegetation of the coast. The fact that the 
peaks and the valleys have the same flora instead of a totally 
different one, as in the case of Kilima Njaro or Kenya, shows 
that these mountains were probably never covered by an ice-cap. 

4. The Rangatcm. — -The fourth zone is that of the " Ran- 
gatan," the prairies of the high plateau. This zone consists 
mainly of vast tracts of undulating moorland, covered with 
grasses. These grow to the height of from 2 to 4 feet ; and as 
the ears ripen and turn yellow, they give the country a certain 
resemblance to the great cornfields of Dakota. Others, such as 
Tricholana rosea, Nees., are tinged with a delicate brownish 
pink, which, when seen on a distant hill-slope, reminds one of 
a clover field on a Surrey down. Some of the most conspicuous 
grasses on the Rangatan—Setar-ia glauca, Beauv., Andro- 
pogon finitimus, Hochst., Thenieda Forskalii, Hack., Sporobohis 
indiciis, R. Br,, and Eragrostis Brownei, Nees. 

The great charm of this region consists, however, in the 
belt of country on its borders. There, clusters of trees and 
clumps of flowering shrubs are scattered over velvety turf, 
forming park-like scenery of exquisite beauty. The resemblance 
to an English park is increased by the number of plants 
belonging to the same genera, or even species, as those of 



Europe. Thus we find our common water-plantain {Alisma 
Flantago, Linn.), a British reed - mace ( TypJia angustifolia, 
Linn.), and rushes such as the Mediterranean species Jimcus 
Fontancsil, Gay. The St. John's Wort is represented by a tree 
{Hypericum Schimperi, Hochst.), the mallows by Hibiscus 
gossypinus, Thunb., and the pond weeds by Aponogeton abyssini- 
cujji, Hochst. 

The flora, therefore, presents resemblances to that of more 
temperate regions, such as the Cape, the highlands of Abyssinia, 
and the shores of the Mediterranean. 

5. The Mountain Forest Zone. — The woods on the border 
of the prairies gradually thicken, and pass imperceptibly into the 
" Mountain Forest Zone," which occupies the region of heavy 
rainfall on the summit of the scarp of Mau and the lower slopes 
of the main peaks. The forest consists of great Junipers and 
Podocarpus, from 80 to 150 feet in height, which have been 
determined by Schweinfurth and Rendle as Juniperus procera, 
Hochst., and Podocarpus clongata, Thunb., P. aff. Mannii^ Hook. 
The trees of this forest zone are draped with long pendent masses 
of gray, beard -like lichens, which Mr. Gepp identifies as Usnea 
ceratina, Ach. A dense canopy of vegetation formed of creepers 
and lianas spreads from tree to tree, while the ground below is 
carpeted with a rank growth of plants, among which species of 
European genera are very abundant. Chief among these are 
the blackberry (Rubus), the meadow-rue (T/mtittrum), and the 
stinging-nettle (Urtica). 

6. T/ie Bamboo Zone. — The Mountain Forest Zone passes 
upward into that of the Bamboo, which on Kenya occupies the 
slopes from the height of 8000 to 9800 feet. It occurs also on 
Settima, Mau, and Elgon. The bamboos are packed together 
so closely that, except where the elephants have forced a way 
through them, a path has to be cut step by step. The bamboos 
rise to the height of from over 40 feet, and the stems are 
often from 3 to 4 inches in diameter at the base. Above they 
branch repeatedly, and the foliage interlocks into an imperfect 
thatch, which is always sodden with moisture. In spite of the 
abundance of the bamboos I was never able to find them in 
flower, and the foliage is insufficient for the determination of 
the genus ; but Mr. Rendle tells me that they do not belong to 
Bambusa, the ordinary bamboo. 


This zone of Kenya did not yield very much of botanical 
interest, no doubt because during our traverse through it there 
was no time to collect. The bamboos as a rule leave no space 
for anything except mosses, but in places the soil was covered 
by Iceland moss {Selaginella) and the maidenhair fern, of a 
species which Mr. Carruthers identifies with that living on 
our southern coasts. 

7. The Lower Alpine Zone. — From the forests and jungle 
of the Bamboo Zone, it is a great relief to emerge on to the 
Alpine meadows above. These appear to be divisible into two 
zones, the Lower and Upper Alpine zones. 

The Lower Alpine Zone occurs on Kenya between 10,000 
and 11,500 feet. In its lower part it contains a few small 
bamboos and scattered forest trees, outliers from the zone 
below. Its most conspicuous features are shrubs and meadow 
plants. The former consist largely of heaths, belonging to the 
genera Erica and Blceria^ of which the species are not yet 
described. In protected situations these may grow to the 
height of I 5 feet, but on exposed slopes they occur mainly as 
low bushes, about the height of gorse. 

The most striking flowering plants are sessile thistles, 
yellow composites much like the dandelion, gladiolus {G. 
ivatsonioides), and meadow orchids {Disa Gregoriana, Rdle.) 
A tree lobelia of a species very different from those of the 
zone above, and in growth more like the L. Deckenii of Kilima 
Njaro, occurs here. 

8. TJie Upper Alpine Zone. — This zone extends from about 
11,500 to 14,000 feet. The most typical plants in it are the 
tree groundsels {Senecio kenicnsis, Baker fil.) which grow in 
groves along the slopes of the valley. These, though belonging 
to the same genus as our common ragwort and groundsels, are 
extraordinarily different in form, consisting of fluted trunks of 
soft brittle wood, which branch once or twice, and sometimes a 
third time. The branches each support a great cabbage-like 
rosette of leaves, from which arise long spikes of groundsel 
flowers. Two tree lobelias {L. Telekii, Schw., and L. Gregoriana, 
Baker fil.) also occur in this zone. The most conspicuous 
plants associated with them are the " everlasting flowers " of 
the Cape and Abyssinia, belonging to the genus Helichrysiini. 

9. The Snoivfields. — The eighth zone now ends at the height 


of about 14,000 feet, although it once extended higher, for dead 
trunks of the lobeHas lay on the moraine of the glacier, several 
hundred feet above any living ones, and in the zone now 
covered by the snowfields and glaciers. There a io.^ small 
patches of lichens and dwarf HelicJuysuni (the highest of which 
were seen at 16,600 feet) are the only representatives of plant 

The vegetation of Eastern British East Africa thus consists 
of eight or nine floras, which are so different from one another 
that it is difficult to discover any features which characterise 
the flora as a whole. The severity of the struggle for existence 
in this region, however, is shown by a few points that may be 
worthy of remark. 

The first characteristic of the flora that impresses itself 
upon one — and it does so in a very pointed and unpleasant 
manner — is its prickliness. Some plants seem to consist of 
nothing but a collection of prickles ; these are developed on 
every part of the plant, on the stem, stalks, flowers, and seeds, 
while the leaves are often reduced to a few needles. The 
thorns and prickles help the plant in nearly every stage of 
life ; for they scatter the seeds by clinging to the fur of 
passing animals, they protect the plant against animals that 
would devour it, and in some cases obtain for the plant the 
food it requires from the air. Some of the plants have the 
prickles arranged in a very ingenious way : thus the " wait-a- 
bit " thorn (the Wacht-ein-beet of the Dutch settlers of the 
Cape) has hooks pointing in opposite directions, so that a jerk 
backward to disentangle clothes caught by them, only impales 
these all the more firmly on another set. In some cases, as if 
the thorns were not sufficiently formidable, ants burrow into 
their bases; the plant increases the growth of tissue to bury 
the invaders, and thus the base of the spine is enlarged into a 
woody bulb, capable of inflicting a nasty wound. Most of the 
succulent plants are protected by an abundant crop of thorns and 
spikes. Some of them, such as Sanseviera guineensis and most 
of the aloes, have broad leaves with edges spiked like a saw ; 
another species of Sanseviera {S. cylindricd) has bayonet-shaped 
leaves, which end in a point so hard and sharp that it goes 
through leather as easily as through paper. The leaves in 


this " nkonge," as the Zanzibari call it, are placed opposite one 
another in a plane which, by a peculiarly malicious arrange- 
ment, is twisted into a spiral. Hence from whatever side these 
" chevaux de frise " be charged, the unlucky traveller only 
plunges on to the pricks ; and this happens with aggravating 
frequency when chasing wounded game through the scrub 
in the dim light of early dawn. 

Another type of defence extensively adopted consists of 
circles of stout hairs pointing downwards, which prevent the 
more simple-minded of the ants from reaching and robbing the 
flowers. Nearly all the grasses are provided with these spiked 
collars, for their farinaceous seeds are especially attractive to 
ants. In many of the flowering plants the same purpose is 
effected by having the leaves placed in opposite pairs with 
their bases " connate," or growing together to form a cup, as 
in the English teazel ; in the rainy season, when alone the 
plant is in flower, this cup is filled with water, and this natural 
moat prevents crawling insects from reaching the coveted stores 
of honey and pollen. 

The method of reducing the waste of seeds in a plant by 
their germination on the parent is not unknown among our 
English plants, and cases occur more frequently in the upland 
meadows (or Alps) of Switzerland. In Africa this "viviparity " 
is very extensively adopted. The case of the mangrove has 
already been quoted, but the method is used in the plants of 
the " Nyika " in an opposite manner ; for in these the leaves 
act as a kind of parachute, and scatter the young plants 
broadcast before the wind, instead of restricting them to a 
narrow belt. 

The action of the wind in moulding the forms of trees is 
well shown in the open plains of East Africa. The few 
timber trees that occur there are, like the baobab, fixed by 
trunks of enormous bulk, so that the wind acting on the leafless 
branches has but little power over them. In other cases the 
leaves are narrow and spiny, and the branches expand in flat 
horizontal sheets, which present only their narrow edges to the 
wind. In none of these cases does the upper portion of the 
tree give the wind much leverage by which to overthrow it. 
The smaller trees are also shaped by the same agency. The 
acacias which form most of the scrub are low and flat-topped. 


expanding above like an umbrella. This form is apparently 
acquired as a protection against the tornadoes that sweep 
over them. The shape is not much use to an isolated 
tree, for the wind can then get underneath the branches and 
tend to wedge it up ; but these trees usually grow packed 
together, and their flat tops form a surface, over which the 
storms sweep with little effect. 

It is no doubt also as a protection against the wind that, 
as if to atone for the leaflessness of the trees, the flowering 
plants are woody. Thus on the plateaux we have to look for 
the main masses of blossom, not to the turf on the meadows, 
but to the clumps of shrubs, which often glow with the yellow 
of the Doinbeya, the Calodendruvi, and the St. John's Wort 
{Hypericuvi), or appear gray with the groundsel-like flowers of 
the " lelesha " {Tardionanthiis camphoratus, L.) 

In spite, however, of such points as these, the flora is mainly 
of interest in connection with the problems of geographical 
distribution. For the contrast between the tropical flora of the 
coastal plain or the Tana delta and the temperate floras of the 
Alpine zone, between the dense jungles and forests of the 
lower slopes of Kenya and the sparse scrub of the sandy 
Nyika, is the most striking feature in the natural history of the 
region. To a geologist this is of especial interest, for the 
distribution of the plants is determined to a considerable extent 
by the geological structure of the country. The nine zones 
are no doubt largely due to the different temperatures ot 
different heights. But altitude is not the only factor ; the 
boundary lines of the zones do not exactly follow the contours. 
The variations of temperature due to height are overpowered by 
the influence of the amount of moisture in the air, which is 
often determined by the character of the rocks in the country 
to windward. Thus the western sides of Kilima Njaro and 
Kenya have a greater rainfall and broader snowfields than the 
eastern, as the lava country to the west is more fertile than 
the sandy wastes to the east. The geological factors, more- 
over, not only determine the amount of the rainfall, but whether 
this is used to the best advantage. The higher mountains, and 
the lowlands beside the coast and the larger rivers, have a 
luxuriant vegetation, because the former intercept moisture 
from the elevated currents of air, while the latter are watered 


by a heavy dew. These sources are perennial ; but, on the open 
plains, the air is dry and the rains are concentrated into two 
rainy seasons ; the plant life in these districts is therefore 
dependent on the capacity of the soil to retain moisture. 
Geologically the plateau region consists of an undulating upland 
of gneiss, covered in places by sheets of volcanic deposits. Ac- 
cording to which of the two classes of rocks crops out at the 
surface, there are one of two types of vegetation. The volcanic 
rocks form very rich soil ; they absorb moisture readily, and 
part with it slowly. Hence the lava tracts are clad in a rich 
green turf or forest, and have numerous springs. The gneiss, 
on the other hand, is very porous ; and, as the foliation is 
generally vertical, the water that falls upon it rapidly percolates 
to a depth at which it has no influence on the vegetation. The 
tracts formed by this rock are therefore barren sandy wastes, 
supporting only the dry grasses, the soft-stemmed leafless trees, 
the dreary scrub, and the succulent shrubs, that constitute the 
desert flora of the East African Nyika. 



' ' Whip me ? No, no ; let carman whip his jade, 
The vaHant heart's not whipt out of his trade." 

Meas. for Meas. ii. i. 

Among the many blessings which the Arab has given man- 
kind, not one of the least is the Zanzibari. Long before Bruce, 
Mungo Park, and Denham had roused English interest in 
African exploration, before even Prince Henry the Navigator 
had sent out his fleets, or Vasco da Gama had rounded the 
Cape and quarrelled with the people of Mombasa, the Arabs 
had quietly found their way into the heart of the Continent, 
settled on the shores of Tanganyika, built trading stations on 
the hills of Unyamwezi, and discovered all the great lakes as 
well as the snow-capped summits of Kilima Njaro and Kenya. 
Probably for more than two thousand years caravans, 
organised by Arabs, have been despatched from the east coast 
to the principal trade centres of the interior. This work can 
only be done by human transport ; for the tsetse and other 
flies poison one set of transport animals, the uncertainty of 
water and the roughness of the road are fatal to another, while 
long caravans in single file are at the mercy of hostile natives 
unless the load -bearer can fight as well as carry. Hence 
the Arabs had to raise a supply of native porters, and the 
Zanzibari is a product of the trade which could not exist with- 
out his services. Indeed the term Zanzibari is only a name 
applied to natives from any up-country tribes, who have come 
down to the coast and adopted the trade of caravan porters. 
Without this class of men, geographical exploration in the 


great belt of Tropical Africa between the Sahara and the 
Zambesi would have been impossible. The expeditions which 
discovered the great lakes and tracked the rivers of the Equa- 
torial regions have all had to rely upon the transport organised 
by the slave -raiders and ivory -dealers of the Suahili coast. 
Hardly a fact about the geography of the interior of the Con- 
tinent has been discovered, except at the price of the lives of 
these poor natives ; and our knowledge of the roads that lead 
there is in direct proportion to the number of Zanzibari whose 
bones bleach beside them. 

In spite of this, the services of the Zanzibari are not 
regarded in Europe with the gratitude they deserve. Travellers 
have given very different reports as to the behaviour of their 
men ; but the best known accounts of them have been unfavour- 
able. Burton, for example, describes his porters thus : — 

" The self-willed wretches demean themselves with the 
coolest impudence ; reply imperiously, lord it over their leaders, 
regulate the marches and the halts, and though they work 
they never work without loud complaints and open discontent. 
Rations are a perpetual source of heartburning ; stinted at 
home to a daily mess of grain porridge, the porters on the line 
of march devote, in places where they can presume, all their 
ingenuity to extort as much food as possible from their 
employers." ^ 

Cameron tells us ' that in his caravan " the majority of the 
men were thieves, and pilfered unceasingly from their loads " ; 
and he gives support to the view that the Zanzibari must be 
handled sternly, for he tells us elsewhere ^ — " I found that we 
had treated our men with too much consideration, and they in 
consequence tried to impose on us, and were constantly 
grumbling and growling." 

Mr. Joseph Thomson tells us that he had to select the men 
for his " Masai Land Expedition " from " a flood of vagabond- 
age . . . the blind and the lame, the very refuse of Zanzibar 
rascaldom, beach-combers, thieves, murderers, runaway slaves, 
most of them literally rotten with a life of debauchery " ; and 
he accordingly had to start with " a villanous crew." ^ 

^ R. F. Burton, The Lake Regions of Central Africa, vol. i. (i860), pp. 342-343. 

^ V. L. Cameron, Across Africa (1877), vol. i. p. 11. 

^ Op. cit. vol. i. p. 107. 

"* J. Thomson, Through Masai Land {\?>^i), p. 23. 


It is natural that stories of difficulty, mutinies, and crimes, 
and of the frequent failure of expeditions through the mis- 
behaviour of the men, should leave a deeper impression on 
the mind than the records of faithfulness and quiet obedience. 
The prevalent belief in the utter villainy of the Zanzibar! is 
expressed by Drummond in the following passage : — 

" These black villains the porters, the necessity and the 
despair of travellers, the scum of old slave-gangs, and the 
fugitives from justice from every tribe, congregate for hire. 
And if there is one thing on which African travellers are for 
once agreed, it is that for laziness, ugliness, stupidness, and 
wickedness, these men are not to be matched on any continent 
in the world. Their one strong point is that they will engage 
themselves for the Victoria Nyanza or for the Grand Tour of 
the Tanganyika with as little ado as a Chamounix guide volun- 
teers for the Jardin ; but this singular avidity is mainly due to 
the fact that each man cherishes the hope of running away at 
the earliest opportunity. Were it only to avoid requiring 
to employ these gentlemen, having them for one's sole com- 
pany month after month, seeing them transgress every com- 
mandment in turn before your eyes — you yourself being 
powerless to check them except by a wholesale breach of the 
sixth — it would be worth while to seek another route into the 
heart of Africa." ^ 

I shared this opinion when I first went to Africa, and 
agreed with the other members of the expedition as to the 
great importance of the attempt to run a camel caravan on a 
large scale so far to the south. We thought that if camel transport 
succeeded, it would revolutionise the conditions of travel in 
Equatorial Africa by superseding the lazy, lying, expensive and 
mutinous Zanzibari. It was therefore a surprise to me when, 
on asking Mr. Piggott on the " Malda " about systems of trans- 
port, he spoke enthusiastically of the merits and virtues, 
efficiency and economy of the Zanzibari, and said that he 
doubted whether anything else could compete with them. I 
was the more astonished to hear the Mombasa men thus 
praised, as I remembered Johnston's warning to travellers — ■ 
" Never, if they can help it, to engage porters at Mombasa. 
Independently of all questions of religion — Mohammedan and 

1 H. Drummond, Tropical Africa, 4th ed. (1891), pp. 5-6. 


Christian alike — the inhabitants of the Mombasa district are 
a thoroughly bad lot. It is hopeless to win them by kindness, 
or infuse a spirit of discipline by sternness. They are liars, 
cowards, thieves, and drunkards." ^ 

My first experience of Zanzibari porters was unfavourable. 
At Mkonumbi several were engaged for us, and failed hope- 
lessly. They could not carry the regulation loads ; they 
showed no knowledge of camp ways ; they proved sullen and 
lazy. However, these were only a scratch lot — mostly freed 
slaves, who had been tempted from ordinary agricultural 
labour by the prospect of high wages and little work. After 
they had been discharged, I saw no more of Zanzibari, until 
our eighty porters under Omari came to the camp at Ngatana. 
Their attitude throughout was amusing rather than pleasant. 
They made no attempt to conceal their contempt for the 
Abyssinians and Somali, and I think we also came in for a 
share of this feeling. Whenever the porters arrived in camp 
from Witu with a fresh cargo of stores, the Abyssinians would 
at once drop their loads and fall exhausted beside them ; the 
Zanzibari, on the other hand, simply to show their contempt 
for such feebleness, would dance and sing, and race round the 
camp with their loads on their heads, until they were ordered 
to stack them. The feeling of the Zanzibari towards the 
Somali was more definitely hostile ; jealousy of the higher pay 
and privileges, which they thought the Somali did not deserve, 
added bitterness to their contempt. In their good - natured 
way the Zanzibari were generally ready to help the Abyssinians 
to make themselves comfortable in camp ; but they seemed to 
gloat over the miseries which the Somali endured, owing to 
their ignorance of the camp dodges, in which they themselves 
were experts. The result was that in time the hatred between 
the two classes of men became so intense that, to avoid 
quarrels, the Zanzibari camp had to be pitched a ie\N hundred 
yards from that of the Somali, and the men were kept as 
much separate as possible. 

In other ways, however, the Zanzibari gave us no trouble. 
When they coveted Pokomo pumpkins, they got them for the 
asking from their friends the villagers, or they stole them so 
cleverly that the Somali had the blame. They never dis- 

1 The Kilima-Njaro Expedition (London, 1886), p. 43. 


tressed us by dying, and were not even seriously ill. In the 
crowd of Somali and Abyssinians which came twice daily to 
the dispensary hut, when Mackinnon was " at home " to invalids, 
not a Zanzibari was to be seen, unless one were there for the 
fun of jeering at the feeble folk. The Zanzibari, in fact, did 
their work in a quiet, business-like way without fuss or noise. 
Moreover, they entertained us greatly by coming over to our 
camp to sing and tell funny stories. 

But in spite of all this we did not like them. They 
assumed an air of bumptious arrogance that was not pleasing. 
It is not exactly gratifying to feel that your native servants 
despise you, as ours manifestly did. We felt we could not 
depend upon our men if we quarrelled with their headman. 
We knew they used to go to Omari, saying, " This is not a 
safari ! Why should we waste our time here any more. Let 
us beat our drum and go ! " Had we had any unpleasantness 
with Omari, they would have beaten their drum and gone. 
Thus a certain distrust was added to our consciousness of their 
aggressive self-assertion. 

But when once we had crossed the Tana and begun our 
march, the Zanzibari had to work, and then everything was 
changed. They showed themselves adepts at camp ways, and 
proved most willing workers. When a halt was called, camp 
was pitched speedily and without confusion. Tents were up, 
water and wood brought, fires lighted, and cooking done, as if 
by magic. There was none of the old trouble to make the 
men perform these tasks, and do the other odd jobs required to 
render camp comfortable and orderly. The Somali had to be 
told everything, and only obeyed slowly and sullenly. Each 
Zanzibari, on the other hand, knew his special duty, and hast- 
ened to do it with willing obedience. We often had a forcible 
illustration of the difference in their demeanour, when we were 
trying to sleep at night after a hard day's work. The noise in 
our Somali camp was maddening, especially when we were ill 
with fever ; Benett-Stanford would go out and order the men 
to be quiet. " We Englishmen," he would say, " work all day 
and try to sleep at night ; but you Somali sleep all day, and 
then chow, chow, chow all night." The Somali would laugh 
and be quiet for three minutes, and then the hubbub would 
begin again. If the Zanzibari were too noisy we had only 


to send a message to Omari ; his stern voice would ring 
through the camp, " Kilele, kilele " (Silence, silence), and every 
sound would be hushed. 

The change from the Somali to the Zanzibari was so 
pleasant, and the behaviour of these latter so satisfactory 
during our return march to the coast, that I resolved to 
employ them exclusively on my second expedition. The 
Somali wanted to go with me, for they were returning to Aden 
penniless ; many of them begged to be employed, and some 
even offered to serve for nothing. But I would not take one 
at any price. I trusted entirely to Zanzibari, and well indeed 
did they justify my trust. 

When comparing experiences with others who have used 
Zanzibari, I feel that I was fortunate in getting a good set of 
men ; and the fact that I had not a single deserter shows that 
I did not get any of the riff-raff of Mombasa or Zanzibar, for 
they would have bolted at the start. Yet my men were not 
by any means a picked staff; being in a hurry to start I had 
at the last to take any porters I could get, to supplement those 
chosen from the first expedition. That the men did not desert 
later on was probably due to the fact that the caravan was 
worked on a different principle from that often adopted. 
Several men of great experience had given me advice as to 
how to treat Zanzibari. Prince Boris Czetwertynski, for 
example, had told me that the only way to make a Zanzibari 
respect you is to flog him. Yet this system of management 
is not always successful. A caravan had gone into the interior 
just before me, the leader of which, a very experienced man, was 
reported to have adopted the " flogging " system. He had lost 
so many men by desertion, that he had been obliged to camp 
for two months in the " barra " waiting for reinforcements to be 
hired and sent up to him. I could afford neither the time nor 
the money involved in such a delay, and realised that it would 
be better to lead the caravan than to drive it. The result was 
we had very little trouble. The men made a march of un- 
precedented swiftness, and had a really hard time of it. When 
asked by Hobley how they had got on, upon their return to 
the coast, Omari's reply, " Teli khazi, teli khazi ! " (Much hard 
work, very much hard work !) ; " teli mvua ! " (much rain !), ex- 
pressed the general opinion. Nevertheless throughout the men 



did their work, and put up with exposure with the greatest 
cheerfulness. Flogging was only necessary twice, and most 
of the time we were rather like a family party. 

My first axiom in the treatment of my men was based on 
Sir Evelyn Wood's maxim, when organising his expedition 
against the Boers — the first thing to be considered is the 
health of the baggage animals. My porters were my baggage 
animals, and I made every arrangement I could for their health. 
I tried to adapt my ways to their habits, for my nature being 
more plastic than theirs I could more easily fit into a new 
environment. But I never allowed the work of the expedition 
to be interfered with, and if exposure were necessary the men 
had to stand it. On Kenya, for example, they were kept at a 
high altitude far longer than was good for them. 

My second axiom was to know as much as possible about 
my men. I was interested in them as samples of African 
natives, and was also anxious to learn all I could of their 
language, habits, and temperaments, so that I might use the men 
to the best advantage. I often spent a few minutes with them 
at night, chatting by their camp fires, drawing from them 
stories of their past journeys and telling them reminiscences of 
my own. They may have credited me with a good deal more 
disinterested benevolence than I deserved ; but I believe this 
close intercourse with my men was the chief source of our 
harmonious co-operation. Among other things, it impressed on 
me that the Zanzibari are not a tribe but a class, and must be 
dealt with accordingly. 

Only twenty-four of the men of my caravan knew to which 
tribe they belonged, and these twenty-four represented no less 
than fourteen different tribes — Wa-konde, Wa-zaramu, Wa-digo, 
Wa-doa, Wa-makwa, Wa-degereko, Wa-gindo, Wa-ganda, 
Wa-biza, Wa-kame, Wa-nyamwezi, Wa-nyasa, Wa-hadamu, 
and Wa-pemba. 

The national characteristics of these tribes differ so widely, 
that it is useless to treat the men as if they were all turned out 
of one mould ; the difference of type, moreover, gives a diver- 
sity of capacity which a leader may apply to the various needs 
of an expedition. For example, the Wa-degereko are a 
domesticated and agricultural race, men of enormous physique 
but of a timid and essentially effeminate character, whose only 


theory of fighting is to live to do it on another day ; they have 
no notion how to find their way in the jungle or how to track 
game, but they have an uncommonly keen eye for business and 
bargaining. The natives of some tribes, on the contrary, are 
born hunters and trappers, who have been trained from their 
youth to deeds of daring in war and in the chase, or, like the 
Wa-nyamwezi, have a high sense of union and discipline. 
Others, like the Wa-digo, are intelligent, courteous, but 
cowardly, and such excellent linguists that this tribe supplies 
interpreters to most of the up-country caravans. The Man- 
yema are a cannibal tribe, whose stupidity and roughness are 
scarcely redeemed by the dash and daring of first-class fighting 
men. The Wa-konde are brusque and business-like, and you 
can lay responsibilities on them for which the sullen, grumbling 
Wa-kame are totally unfit. It is evident that the methods of 
dealing with such varieties of character should, if possible, be 
as varied. A joke may do with one man what a threat alone 
could achieve with another ; one may be most moved by a 
promise of reward at the coast, when another can be touched 
by an appeal to his honour. It is from caravan leaders who 
do not study the characters of their men that we hear most of 
the stories of mutiny and desertion, and that the only argument 
a Zanzibari can understand is the whip. 

I may mention the following incident as illustrating the 
inspiriting example of a good leader, and the Zanzibari's 
capacity for following it. On one occasion, after being forty 
hours without water, we came upon a scanty supply, and my 
headman Omari, who had been trained by Stanley, refused his 
share. He shook his head at first, for so dry and stiff were 
our tongues that we could hardly speak, and then stammered 
out that he was not thirsty. When I insisted on his taking 
his small share, he quietly handed it to the porter who appeared 
most overcome with thirst. As I looked at his face, grimy 
with the labours of the long day, I could not help thinking of 
Kipling's lines — 

" But for all 'is dirty 'ide 
He is white, pure white inside." 

Later on I asked him how he had denied himself He said, 
" It was nothing ! I've seen Bula Matari (Stanley) do the same 
thing lots of times, and if he could do it, Inshallah ! so can I." 


Like the rest of the world, the Zanzibari have their faults, 
and many of their failings are intensely irritating. Their 
greatest vice is a tendency to desert ; they are inveterate liars, 
and frequently present an amazing mixture of timidity and 
foolhardiness. The Zanzibari have a hereditary fear of the 
Masai, and an undrilled caravan is liable to terror-stricken 
panic in case of attack. Yet the men persist in straggling 
behind in the most hostile country, and if the fancy takes them 
will go off single-handed to pillage a plantation, apparently 
totally indifferent to the fact that by so doing they are en- 
dangering the very existence of the whole party. Perhaps the 
most troublesome fault of all is that they cannot be trusted to 
keep awake on sentry duty. According to general report, the 
greater the danger the more soundly the sentries sleep. To 
find your Askari sentinels either dozing or fast asleep during 
the most risky hours, night after night, is a severe strain on 
the temper, and you are then apt to curse Zanzibari in general, 
and kick the sentries in particular. I always went round camp 
two or three times a night, and when in hostile country did 
not take off my clothes, except to change them, for days 

The recklessness of the men about their food is another 
trying characteristic. At the commencement of a new stage 
in the journey we had to serve out ten days' rations, and 
some of the men would eat so much in the first few days 
that by the end of the week they had none left. But 
they can go for great distances on what appears to be the 
most insufficient food ; some of my men carried loads of 
1 10 lbs. from dawn to dusk, with only an hour's rest in the 
middle of the day, on a pound and a half of beans or Indian 
corn, and sometimes less than that. Whence their " foot- 
pounds " of energy were derived puzzled me, until I noticed 
that they became thinner and thinner. They illustrate the 
laws of compensation ; for the amount of food the men can 
eat, when they have it, is simply phenomenal. When we 
reached the Kikuyu country on the return journey, I owed all 
the men arrears of food, amounting with one group of men to 
seven days' rations. I offered to give them beads or wire 
instead of the excess of food, that they might buy for them- 
selves any little delicacies they fancied, such as chickens or 


ripe bananas. But they refused my offer. " You owe us seven 
days' food," they replied ; " seven days' food we will have or 
nothing." Of course it was given them ; but, in the evening, one 
of them came as a delegate from the rest to ask for medicine. 
He complained of severe internal pains, and seemed very 
uncomfortable. His power of diagnosing his symptoms being 
limited, I asked what he had been doing or eating. He calmly 
replied he had done nothing, and had only eaten the food that 
had been given him. Each of the men having obtained his 
seven days' rations had borrowed a big cooking-pot, made a 
great fire, and had cooked and eaten the whole of the loA- lbs. 
of beans. I was somewhat annoyed and declined to give 
medicine, telling the emissary the only expedient I could 
think of to prevent fatal consequences was a band of hoop 
iron ; this we had not got, so he must tie himself together 
with my climbing-rope. When the story of this Milo's meal 
was circulated round camp it was regarded as a good joke, 
and the appetite of the six huge feeders was added to the list 
of stock-jokes of the caravan. 

A more serious failing in the Zanzibari is his liability to 
violent paroxysms of passion. When the fit is on him he is 
hardly accountable for his actions ; he will take offence at the 
merest trifle, and until he recovers is ready to desert in spite of 
any consequences to himself The well-known Zanzibari tragi- 
comedian " Tom Charles," for example, threatened to desert from 
Teleki's caravan only two days before reaching Mombasa, owing 
to some tiff with the native headman ; it was only Teleki's 
good-natured intervention that dissuaded him from forfeiting 
his two years' hard-earned pay and his reputation as a reliable 
servant, besides rendering himself liable to a long term of 
imprisonment. This tendency to passion greatly increases 
the difficulty of handling the men ; they have to be humoured 
and coaxed like children ; and when in anger, appeals to their 
self-interest are in vain, for the last persons they then think of 
are themselves. 

To secure peace in a caravan, a leader must respect the 
customary organisation. The sole duty of a porter is to carry 
his load from camp to camp, and all other work is supposed to be 
done by special men. Stacking the loads, sentry duty, putting 
up the tent of the leader of the expedition, and collecting his 



firewood and fetching his water, is the work of the Askari, 
There is always one of these to every ten porters. They do 
not carry loads unless a porter is taken ill on the march, and 
then the Askari is at liberty, before taking up the man's burden, 
to give him ten blows with a stick as a safeguard against 
malingering. This is a recognised right, though the Askari 
do not as a rule insist upon it, unless in an obvious case of • 
imposition. I never saw it enforced. On the contrary, in 
cases of illness the men were always ready to help one another, 
and several times I saw an Askari insist upon taking a load 
from a sick man pluckily struggling to bear up under it. 
The Askari are responsible to the " munipara " or headman, who 
holds an extremely important position, and upon whom to a 
large extent depends the peaceful working of a caravan. He 
distributes the loads and food, and must see that all loads are 
brought into camp. Hence he generally marches last, and 
must not leave this post without the permission of the European 
leader, who then generally takes his place. It is the absolute 
rule of the road that no man is to be left behind alone. If a 
porter is too ill to proceed, the headman stays with him, sending 
on a message by one of the Askari for a fatigue party to be 
sent back to carry the invalid. The porter has his rules to 
obey ; e.g. he must not upon any account leave the track with- 
out leaving his load there, or giving some other sign to the 
headman. The only man I lost was sacrificed through his own 
neglect of this rule ; he was tired, stole from the path, and went 
to sleep under a tree ; when later on he tried to follow us he 
lost the way ; our search for him was vain, and he, no doubt, 
was either starved to death or killed by exposure to the cold, 
unless the lions mercifully put an end to his sufferings. As a 
rule the men obey their unwritten code implicitly ; it is, indeed, 
a matter of habit with them, and an Ethiopian will sooner 
change his skin than his habits ; indeed that is not so difficult 
as one might imagine, for in cutting our way through the thorn 
jungle of the Sabaki or Lake Losuguta, the men changed their 
skin for sticking plaster at an appalling rate. 

The whole ethic of a porter's religion is concerned with his 
load. His creed is very simple, consisting of two articles — (i) 
Thou shalt not drop or abandon thy load ; (2) Thou shalt not 
steal from it. Stanley tells a good story which well illustrates 


the first rule. When he started on his search for Livingstone he 
was new to Equatorial Africa, and anxious to try new methods 
of transport. So he took out a light, narrow waggon, which 
was laden and hauled inland. The waggon, however, was 
always in mischief, and generally hours behind the rest of 
the caravan. Stanley at last got tired of it, and one day, 
when it was unusually far in the rear, he sent back an order 
that the thing was to be thrown into the jungle, and the men 
with it were to come on as quickly as possible. Hours passed 
and they did not appear. So Stanley marched back and met 
the stragglers, led by the strongest man staggering along with 
the waggon, axle, wheels, and all complete, upon his head. 
The porter pleaded that he could not leave his load, and that 
it was easier to carry it thus. But this was such a rcditctio ad 
absiirdujii of wheeled traffic, that the waggon was thrown on 
one side and there abandoned. 

On Kenya I had a somewhat similar experience, when 
a porter, not by any means one of my best men (in fact 
one of the worst), nearly sacrificed his life in the effort 
to save his load. He had been caught in the snowstorm 
that broke upon us, the day of our arrival at our camp 
above the forests. He could not drag his load up the steep 
slope that led to the camp, and he would not go on without it. 
It was a mere matter of etiquette. The load would have been 
all right if he had left it, and there were no natives to steal it ; 
but it was against the porter's religion to leave his load, and he 
sat upon it. After an hour's search I found him, half covered 
in snow, lying on his load, nearly frozen to death. A little 
brandy revived him, but he was too weak to stand, and I had 
to carry him up to camp. Next morning when he was better, 
but while I was still suffering from the irritation of having to 
hunt for him in the snowstorm, I told him he was a fool to 
have stopped there, and that he ought to have left his load and 
come on when he could have done so. " How could I leave 
my load without my master's order ? " was the man's reproach- 
ful reply. Such is the stuff of which a good Zanzibari is made. 

The regulation load which the Zanzibari is supposed to 
carry is 60 lbs. Many of the missionaries think this excessive, 
and refuse to allow any of their men to be hired, unless a 
promise be given that they shall not be required to carry more 


than 50 lbs. But as a matter of fact the weight is more often 
raised than reduced. The British East Africa Company allow 
loads of 65 lbs., and, at the outset of an expedition, this is the 
utmost that a man should be expected to carry. Later on, 
when the men have become used to their work, the amount can 
be increased. We often had loads made up of 50 kibaba of 
food which would weigh in all 75 lbs. The packing adds 
another 5 lbs., and the porter's ten days' rations i 5 lbs. more. 
A rifle and 20 rounds of ammunition would raise the total to 
about 105 lbs. In addition to this the man has to take his 
turn at carrying a heavy copper " sufuria " or cooking-pot, and 
always has a roll containing his shelter tent and the cloth that 
serves as a blanket, and a few other trifles of his own. Porters 
with such loads as these are therefore really carrying i i o lbs. 
at least, instead of the regulation 60 lbs. ; and the men seemed 
to regard this as quite moderate treatment. Teleki ^ on one 
occasion gave his men loads ranging from i 10 lbs. to 148 lbs. 

It appears almost as if, while you keep to their load, the 
porters will allow you to impose upon them ad infinitiiin, or at 
any rate as long as their strength will hold out ; but order them 
to fetch you some firewood from a bush a hundred yards dis- 
tant, to carry a load across camp, or to do anything that is an 
infringement of the established dasturi or custom, and it is quite 
another matter. If you respect dasturi and ask a man to per- 
form the service, he will be flattered and do it at once ; but the 
smallest demand upon him outside his recognised duty will put 
him in a bad temper for the rest of the day. At the beginning 
of an expedition, when there are all sorts of odd jobs to be done, 
the men are slack, and the leader perhaps not used to caravan 
ways, dasturi is continually invoked. If the appeal is not 
respected, the chances are the men will desert. Their natural 
view is, that if a leader will not respect their privileges near 
the coast when protection is at hand, what will he not do up 
country when his men are entirely at his mercy ? The porters, 
as a rule, implicitly obey the laws of safari custom, and expect 
their leader to do so too. 

Trivial infringements of dasturi are therefore bitterly 
resented, though the men appear generally ready to tolerate 
them, if really necessary. On Laikipia I had to withdraw 

1 Hohnel, Zum Rudolf-See, p. 698. 


certain privileges, which are usually held sacred. The men pro- 
tested ; but I told them that the only dastiiri on Laikipia was 
to be speared by the Masai and eaten by the hyenas. If 
they wanted that fate they could easily get it ; if not, they had 
better not talk about dastiiri till we reached a safer country. 
The men laughed, and we heard no more about the matter. 

Greatly though the Zanzibar! loathe any interference with 
their customs and privileges, they will tolerate even that rather 
than an act of injustice. This rankles in the Zanzibar! mind, 
and is certain to be paid off some day. Amongst my porters 
was a Mgindo, serving under an assumed name, which we will 
suppose to have been Wadi. He was my most faithful personal 
attendant. When we were in a waterless camp at night, Wadi 
would wait till no one was looking, and then sneak my water- 
bottle and fill it up from his own small calabash. Several 
times when our food supplies were approaching exhaustion, and 
we were on short rations, he would tie up half of his in a 
corner of his loin-cloth to save it for me. I only found this 
out by accident in Kikuyu. As soon as the natives brought 
food into camp and the prospect of famine was averted, Wadi 
produced his store and began to eat it. I chaffed him about 
his caution, and he did not seem to like it. Omari afterwards 
remonstrated with me for my banter, for he said, " Did you not 
know that the food was all being saved for you ? " Wadi had 
remarked to him a day or two before that if the Kikuyu would 
give us no food, " Mpokwa " would want the beans sooner than 
he would. Wadi was always doing things of that sort, walking 
miles after the day's work was done to collect herbs for food, 
and then giving them all to others. Nevertheless he was a 
man with a bad record. He had been one of the two ring- 
leaders in perhaps the worst act of mutiny that has disgraced 
the annals of British East Africa. Wadi was with a caravan 
in the interior. According to his account, the leader knew no 
Ki-suahili and was dependent entirely on his interpreters — a lot 
of mission boys. One of these committed an act of theft. The 
leader of the caravan said the thief must be found. Wadi was 
accused. His defence was falsely translated by the interpreter, 
who was a confederate of the thief Wadi was condemned and 
flogged. A fortnight later there was a mutiny one afternoon in 
camp. Ninety porters suddenly seized their guns, some loads 


of ammunition and ivory, and marched off. They sold their 
ivory for food and fled back towards the coast. They stormed 
every village they came to which they could attack with safety. 
They captured women from one tribe and sold them for food 
or ivory to the next. Thus looting, massacring, and murdering, 
they swept down to the coast, leaving a blood-stained trail 
behind them. The whole story is a terrible one. The actual 
leader was a man named Wadi Kombo, who has long since 
been called upon to answer for his crimes. But there is good 
reason to believe that my faithful Wadi not only joined, but 
helped to instigate the mutiny. He had been wrongfully 
punished, the injustice rankled in his mind, and he took his 

This had happened several years before, but Wadi's hatred 
of mission boys was still keen and bitter. Once a drunken 
native was rolling round the camp, trying to steal, and generally 
misbehaving. I threatened to have him kicked out. He 
pulled himself up in a ludicrous effort to assume an air of 
dignity, and said he was no mere up-country savage {inslienzi), 
for he had been to the coast. " Yes," remarked Wadi, who was 

standing by, " I thought he had been brought up at ," 

mentioning a well-known mission station. On another occasion 
he caught my tent-boy drinking some of my water when there 
was none in camp, and Wadi had emptied his calabash into my 
water-bottle. He was very angry and kicked the boy about. 
Suddenly he remembered what a terrible breach of camp 
discipline he was committing. A headman has the right to 
flog any porter or Askari during the absence of the leader of the 
expedition, reporting it to him when he returns ; but he may not 
flog the leader's personal servants, such as tent -boy or cook. 
If necessary he can put them in irons, but he must not flog 
them. For a mere porter, then, like Wadi to do this was a 
grievous sin. He suddenly realised the enormity of his offence 
and came half-sobbing to me to apologise. He explained that 
he had a little water that he did not want, so, rather than throw 
it away, he had poured it into my bottle. Then he had seen 
my boy drinking it, became angry, and hit him. He begged 
humbly for forgiveness, which was readily granted. Wadi saw 
I was not angry, so, as he left the door of the tent, he looked 
back and remarked, " You will forgive me, won't you, Bwana ? 


I know no better. You see I was not brought up at a mission 

I have said that the childishness of the Zanzibari introduces 
one great difficulty in handling them, but this may be more 
than counterbalanced by appeals to their keen sense of humour. 
Almost anything can be done with them by chaff. Time after 
time incipient rows were nipped in the bud, awkward questions 
and just, but inconvenient, protests were evaded by the feeblest 
of jokes, or a little banter at the expense of the spokesman. I 
had a series of slits cut in the wall of my tent, and through 
these could see any little incident that happened in the camp. 
One day the guide or kiringozi, Wadi Hamis, upset the pot of 
food he was cooking into the fire, greatly to the wrath of the 
others. A few days later he came up as leader of a few men, 
to complain that they could not do something expected of 
them. " Of course you can't ; all you can do is to capsize 
your cooking-pot into the fire," was my irritable and inconse- 
quent reply. The sullen Wadi Hamis was completely taken 
aback, and the others rolled away, shaking with laughter, and 
spluttering out to the rest of the camp that Bwana said all 
Wadi could do was to upset the cooking-pot. Thus, in a burst 
of merriment, what might have been an unpleasant row was 
averted. Parties of porters were continually coming up with 
questions and complaints. As a rule these were fair and easily 
satisfied ; but when they were not, it was only necessary to turn 
the laugh against the ringleader, who would slink away abashed, 
while the others would lose their grievance in their merriment. 

It was not only little troubles that could thus be soothed. 
For several days before we reached the Kikuyu frontier, on our 
march across Laikipia, the danger of famine hung heavily on 
our minds. We all knew the difficulties before us, but we did 
not care to refer to them. At length a few of the malcontents 
plucked up courage, and came in a body to ask me what was to 
be done. The deputation respectfully pointed out that all our 
food would be gone before we reached the frontier, that the 
Kikuyu would not let us cross it, or sell us food until they had 
discussed the matter for some days among themselves. " What 
shall we eat then ? " asked the spokesman. " Kulu mimi " 
(You may eat me), I replied with my blandest smile. My 
omnivorous propensities had been one of the standing jokes 


of the caravan. I was always teasing the men about their 
fastidiousness in food, and they repHed by jeering at my 
readiness to eat anything. As Mohammedans they were 
extremely particular, and would rather die than indulge in 
cannibalism. When members of a cannibal tribe such as the 
Manyema join a caravan, they are constantly chaffed about 
their food, and are nicknamed " Kulu-watu " (Those who eat 
people). My offer of myself as food for the hungry was 
perfectly safe therefore, and was received as a splendid joke. 
The men went off doubled up with laughter, stammering out 
to their comrades, " The master says when we get to Kikuyu 
and have nothing else to eat, we may eat him." When the 
wit of the camp objected that I was too thin, the laughter was 
redoubled ; the difficulties ahead were all forgotten, and no 
more was said about the approaching starvation of the caravan. 
Many other instances might be given of a funny answer (or 
what was deemed such) turning away wrath. 

The quick sense of humour of the Zanzibar! can not only 
be used to soothe, but also to inspirit them. When the Masai 
couched their demand for our trade goods as toll, in a request 
for payment for their hongo dance, the porters were alarmed 
and urged that the tax should be paid. I went forward and 
did a dance of my own, mimicking that of the Masai to the 
intense amusement of my men. I then put in a claim for 
hongo for my dance, and said the two claims would neutralise 
one another. The novelty of this proceeding so revived the 
spirits of my men that they decided we must not pay, and 
were perfectly ready to fight. 

Besides appreciating my feeble attempts at humour, the 
Zanzibar! could supply wits of their own. One of the most 
useful of my party was a Mdoa named Mwini Mharo, a man 
of very varied antecedents and a record by no means spotless. 
He had once been a headman and had been degraded. He had 
had a bitter quarrel with Lugard and deserted. After this 
he had been sent up to Uganda in the chain-gang. On 
his return, he had enlisted in the expedition with which 
I started. There he had mainly distinguished himself by 
being involved in an act of theft, which could not be absolutely 
proved against him, though the evidence was very strong. 
After his journey with me, he went inland again with an 


expedition, the leader of which gives him a woefully bad char- 
acter. But I found him so useful that I made him my head 
Askari, and he was mainly responsible for the trade goods. 
He was such an expert thief himself, that he was up to all the 
dodges ; and as he knew that if anything were stolen he 
would be suspected, he durst not steal himself Thus practi- 
cally nothing was taken. He was a confirmed liar, as a rule 
very indolent, and had very little control over the men. He 
was, moreover, liable to fits of murderous passion, in which he 
would draw his knife and try to slay the object of his wrath. 
So Mwini's character was not a perfect one, and I have to 
admit he had his failings. But, in spite of all, he was indis- 
pensable to me. Though a thief, he was not a kleptomaniac. 
When roused, his capacity for work was colossal. His sight 
was marvellously keen, and his knowledge of animals and their 
ways was very intimate. He could track a wounded antelope 
or follow up an obscure trail with unerring instinct, and with- 
out apparent effort. His courage was superb. But his main 
virtue lay in his rollicking good - humour. When the men 
were almost too weary and exhausted to drag themselves 
along in some double march across difficult country, and we 
were all gloomy, depressed, and surly, Mwini's spirits would 
rise to their highest. I would call him to the front, and soon 
some lively marching song would break from him, cheering 
our hearts in spite of ourselves, until we were all joining in 
the chorus, or shouting back the refrain. Unconsciously our 
pace would quicken, and as if by magic " the crooked would 
be made straight and the rough places plain." If we had to 
camp out in the plains or spend the night in some dismal 
swamp, crouching fireless and foodless in the pelting rain, 
Mwini would vary his songs with stories of the strange things 
he had seen and heard. At first the men would be angry and 
tell him to stop. Huddled up under the open fly of the tent, 
which I would share with them on such occasions, I have 
watched them, taking in sullen despair a malicious pleasure in 
the contemplation of their own sufferings, looking as if sheer 
misery were the only thing that rendered life possible, and 
scowling at Mwini's ribald irreverence to their solemn dignity 
of martyrdom. But one by one they would thaw to his jokes, 
till the whole camp was infected, and the danger of an epidemic 


of fever or complete nervous collapse through the exposure 
would be over. Mwini was often far more efficacious as a 
prophylactic against fever than any medicine. 

A mystery hangs over Mwini's fate. It is thought by 
some, who know him only too well, that the capture of the 
donkey caravan with which he disappeared came about 
through some treachery of his own. They believe he is still 
safe enough somewhere, enjoying a share of the booty of this 
last escapade. But it seems to me far more probable that the 
capture was made by the Masai, with whom under no circum- 
stances would Mwini have conspired, for, from some reason, he 
hated them bitterly. This explanation at least is more agree- 
able, and I prefer to remember rather how he cheered us 
when the way was weary, how he shared his rations with less 
provident companions, how tenderly he nursed our sick, how 
untiringly he trudged by rrie as we scoured Laikipia together, to 
find a way that would avoid the kraals of the Masai. I always 
looked with something like a blind eye at many of his little 
ways and weaknesses, for I found in him a faithful friend and 
an invaluable servant, and there will ever be in my heart a soft 
corner for my merry old comrade Mwini Mharo. 

The study of the psychology of the Zanzibari is another 
source of interest. His mental attitude to the European is 
an interesting one, somewhat resembling that of a seventeenth- 
century Puritan towards the Deity. Nothing a European 
does now surprises him. His mind is absolutely blase. 
The most cunningly devised European machinery fails to 
evoke the slightest expression of astonishment. There is an 
explanation ever ready to his mind. I once called one of 
them to a telephone at Witu, and let him hear the voice of a 
man whom he knew was at Melindi, five days' march away. 
He listened, and said he recognised the voice, as if it were all 
the most natural thing in the world. He was not in the 
slightest degree surprised. It was simply another European 
dodge, and there was an end of it, as far as he was concerned. 
Probably he would not have been surprised if his great-grand- 
father had been called from the grave to speak to him through 
the wire. The instrument was European : he was African. 
He could not hope that his finite mind would understand the 
infinite subtlety of the Mzungu, and why should he try ? The 


Zanzibar! knows he cannot understand everything, so he does 
not attempt to, and the ways of Europeans no more surprise him 
than does the sunset. But failure to understand the European 
does not lessen his sense of obedience. My own men worked 
for me right loyally, though they never understood my object. 
At first they nicknamed me " Dudu," which may be interpreted 
as "bugs and beetles," a name -finally replaced by that of 
" Mpokwa " or " bulging pockets," The fact that the men 
sometimes wondered at my object was shown when, in the 
Kikuyu country, one of them was dangerously ill — we 
thought dying. One night he seemed anxious to ask me 
something, though he hesitated to speak about it. I went 
away, but a porter soon recalled me to the sick man. Then, 
with a great effort, he asked me to promise that, if he died, I 
would not put his head in a box and take it home with me, 
like the skulls I had dug up at Tzavo. 

From the relief my promise gave, not only to him, but to 
others, I could see that many of the men had felt that I 
should not hesitate to add their skulls to my collection, if they 
died on the march. But this had not prevented them from risking 
their lives time after time in my service ; and when the fare- 
wells came at Mombasa, I felt that the Zanzibari are the real 
heroes of African exploration. They do their work without 
the stimulus of the incentive of exploration ; they have no share 
in the interest of the scientific problems ; they enjoy none of 
the credit of success. They only receive their scanty allowance 
of a pound and a half of grain a day as food when on the 
march, and a miserable pittance of ten rupees a month as pay 
on their return. Yet for these they have to endure hardships 
and privations, compared with which those of their European 
master, with his comfortable tent and store of tinned pro- 
visions, are for the most part trivial inconveniences. The very 
highest success in life they can hope for is only promotion to 
the rank of headman. Only a small minority can ever obtain 
the greater dignity and higher responsibilities of this position. 
For the majority, if they escape the natives, who are ever ready 
to murder a lonely porter for the sake of his load, and never 
fall ill during a period of double marches and half rations on 
one of the cold, inland plateaux, there remains but the oblivion 
of an early and unhonoured grave. 


" Dislike me not for my complexion." — Merck, of Ven. i. 2. 

The connection between the character of a people and the 
geographical and geological structure of the country in which 

^ Note on (he Literature. — The study of the natives of British East Africa naturally 
began on the coast-lands. Attention was first given to the Suahili, and especially to 
their language ; for knowledge of this we are mainly indebted to Krapf (1850 and 1882) 
and Steere (1870); Suahili folklore has been reported by Steere (1873), W. E. Taylor 
(1891), and indirectly by D. J. Rankine (1891) and A. C. Madan (1887). The best 
history of the coast towns and their inhabitants is in Burton's Zanzibar (1872), from 
whicli most later accounts have been drawn. For knowledge of the tribes near Mombasa, 
such as the Wa-nyika, Wa-giriama, Wa-pokomo, and Galla, we are indebted to Krapf 
(1858), Wakefield (1866), New (1873), Fischer (1878), Gedge (1892), and Taylor 

Of the inland tribes the most interesting is the Masai ; the first accounts of its 
language are those of Krapf (1854) and Erhardt (1857); Johnston (1886) has given a 
clear account of the language and discussed its affinities. The tribe was first adequately 
described by Fischer and Thomson ; their accounts, both published in 1885, admirably 
supplement one another. Since then most travellers who have visited the Masai country 
have described the tribe, but with the exception of Peters (1891) and von Hohnel (1892) 
most of the work has been done in German East Africa : as by Johnston (1886), Meyer 
(1888 and 1890), French Sheldon (1892), Baumann (1894), etc. The Wa-kamba have 
been described by Krapf (1858), Hildebrandt (1878), and cursorily by later travellers 
across their country. 

The tribes of the Nyanza basin have now a voluminous literature dealing mainly with 
the Wa-ganda and Wanyoro : it began with Speke (1863), Baker (1866), and Stanley 
(1878); was continued by missionaries such as Felkin, Ashe, Mackay, and Wilson; 
and has been scientifically treated by Stuhlmann (1893) and Baumann (1894). Lugard's 
account of the Wa-ganda (1893) must also be mentioned. 

The problems in connection with the dwarf tribes rest on the scientific descriptions of 
Schweinfurth (1874), Hamy (1879), Flower (1888), and Stuhlmann (1893). The most 
readable general account of these races is by Ouatrefages {Les Pygmies, 1887 : English 
translation 1895) ; a list of the principal literature is given by Stuhlmann, and a valuable 
summary of the whole by Schlichter (1892). 

A bibliographic index to the languages is given by Gust (1883), and an account of 
the African races generally by Ratzel [Volkerkunde, Bd. i. , 1887). With these excep- 
tions, the literature referred to deals only with the tribes of British East Africa ; but the 
anthropology of that area cannot be considered without reference to the two monographs 
of Paulitschke (1886 and 1893), and the works of Stuhlmann (1893), Baumann (1894), 
and a series of memoirs in the volumes of the Mittheilungen von Forschungsreisenden 


they live, has been frequently pointed out by historians, ethno- 
graphers, and geologists. Buckle, for example, in a well-known 
passage in his History of Civilisation} has drawn a most in- 
structive contrast between the geographical conditions of India 
and of Greece, and shown how their influence can be traced in 
the characters of the inhabitants of the two countries. Thus 
he points out that in India nature is all-powerful ; for example, 
the mountains are so high that they cannot be scaled, and the 
rivers so broad that they cannot be bridged ; while the climate 
is an alternation of torrid drought and torrential rains, of pro- 
longed calms and irresistible tornadoes. The powers of man 
are feeble in comparison, and he is therefore dwarfed and 
overawed. In Greece, on the other hand, nature is moderate 
in all things : the hills are low, the streams small, the rains 
evenly distributed, and the climate temperate. Man's individual 
development is therefore stimulated, and not repressed. In 
India nature is colossal, and therefore man is puny. In Greece 
nature is mild, and therefore man is strong. 

A similar connection between the temperament of the 
Semites and the physical features of their surroundings has 
been remarked by other writers. As Prof Keane expresses 
it, the Semitic intellect is " less varied but more intense [than 
the Aryan], a contrast due to the monotonous and almost 
changeless environment of yellow sands, blue skies, flora and 
fauna limited to a few species, and mainly confined to oases 
and plains reclaimed by irrigation from the desert, everywhere 
presenting the same uniform aspect. Hence to the Semites 
mankind is indebted for little philosophy and science, but for 
much sublime poetry associated with many profound concep- 
tions of a moral order." "" Draper, again, has shown that 
Europe illustrates the same principle ; for the climate of that 
continent progressively modified the Asiatic tribes that entered 
it, until they resembled the races among which they settled, 
and until a condition of " ethnical equilibrium " had been thus 

und Gelehrten aus dein Dcutschen Schuizgehieteji and in the new Zcitschrift fiir afrika- 
nische und ocea?iische Sprachen. 

^ H. T. Buckle, History of Civilisation in England {^A. 1885), vol. i. pp. 137-146. 

" Art. "Semitic Race," Cassell' s Storehouse of Infortnaiioti, vol. viii. (1894), p. 72. 

•* J. W. Draper, Hisfory of th^ Intellectual Development of Europe, vol. i. (ed. 1875), 
PP- 34-35- 


The East African races afford a further illustration of the 
dependence of character on environment ; since, as the geo- 
graphical conditions are different from those of India or Greece, 
they have produced a different type of national character. 
This case is especially instructive, as the direct influence of 
the geological factors is so clearly shown. 

As we have seen in Chap. XII., the most striking feature 
in the physical conditions of Eastern Equatorial Africa is insta- 
bility. Geological evidence was there quoted to show that the 
climate of the country has undergone a great change at no 
distant period. The facts of zoological distribution quoted 
in Chap. XIII. confirm this. Statements made by the Arab 
governors of Mombasa and Mambrui, and the meteorological 
statistics collected on the coast, support the same view ; 
they show that the climate is still characterised by excessive 
variation and uncertainty. The tables of rainfall occasionally 
show us the total failure of one rainy season, followed by 
a disastrous excess in the next ; while such incidents as 
the famine at Njemps repeat the same story in more tragic 

Owing to the peculiar conditions of the African climate, 
the natives are more than usually dependent on the rainfall. 
Merensky^ has pointed out that the maps of South Africa 
which show the distribution of rain correspond closely with 
those which show the distribution of population. 

But rain is not the only factor that has to be considered. 
In a region of such unstable equilibrium as Eastern Equatorial 
Africa, we have to allow for changes in the structure of the 
country as well as in its climate. Great earth -movements 
have occurred there recently, and, it may be, are in progress 
still. These may at any time have altered the subterranean 
drainage of a district, dried up the springs, diverted the courses 
of the rivers, turned a garden into a desert, and wiped out 
a tribe. The traditions of such disasters haunt the people's 
memory, and occupy a leading position in their folklore. The 
terror of their possible recurrence exercises a disturbing influence 
on the native character. It keeps alive a disposition towards 
nomad life, alien alike to the growth of either a fatalism like that 
of India, or a culture like that of Greece. All the tribes, however, 

1 A. Merensky, Beitrdge zur Kenntyiiss Sud-Afrikas {\d,j^), pp. 78-79. 


cannot become nomadic. Some of them are physically and 
mentally incompetent for the strain of such a life, and must be 
content with servitude or else submit to the ever-recurring raids 
of the more powerful tribes. The physical conditions of the 
country, therefore, help to divide the people into two classes : 
one consists of warlike conquering nomads ; the other of feebler 
races, who either eke out a precarious existence on mountain 
summits, in forest clearings, and on islands in the vast malarial 
swamp, or else live as serfs and helots in subjection to the 
dominant tribes. 

If this were all that had happened owing to the migrations 
of African tribes, — if the conquerors had exterminated all the 
conquered, if the new possessors had kept apart from the dis- 
possessed, — the race characters might still have been preserved 
fairly pure. But this has not occurred. The bands of invaders 
probably contained a majority of men, while owing to polygamy 
an excess of women was required. The men therefore had to take 
to themselves wives from the people of the land in which they 
settled ; hence mongrel races occur wherever such national 
movements have taken place, and abound from one end of 
the continent to the other. The Hottentots, for example, 
are now regarded as hybrid between the Bushmen and Bantu, 
instead of belonging to a distinct race, differing from either. 
The Suahili in the same way have resulted from the inter- 
marriage of Arab and Negro. The whole of the great group 
of the Fulah is probably a product of the blending of Hamitic 
and Negro tribes. It is this miscegenation which has introduced 
uncertainty into the classification of the African races. There is 
no trouble in determining the affinities of the Bantu Zulu, the 
Semitic Abyssinian, the Hamitic Somali, or the aboriginal 
Bushman ; but to estimate the systematic value, and to discover 
the relationships of hybrid tribes, which have merged the 
physique of two races, and perhaps adopted the language of a 
third, is so difficult that many ethnographers have abandoned 
the effort in despair. 

Moreover, not only are the physical features of the people 
confused by intermarriages resulting from nomad life, tribal war, 
concubinage, and polygamy, but the language test has also 
been rendered unreliable, owing to the extent to which some 
tribes have adopted words and inflexions, or even the whole 


language, of an altogether different race-group. A well-trained 
sense of hearing gives many of the people a remarkable facility 
in the acquisition of new languages ; and nomadic habits, national 
migrations, and intertribal commerce have given abundant scope 
for the exercise of this useful faculty. Slaves have introduced 
forms and phrases into the language of their owners ; helot 
tribes have been forced to learn the tongue of their masters ; 
and conquerors have adopted the speech of the conquered. On 
the one hand, for example, the Bantu Wasania^ now speak a 
dialect of Galla, just as the Aryans of Phrygia have adopted 
the language of their Turkish conquerors, or as the Celts of 
Western Europe have in the main accepted those of their 
Teutonic or Latin neighbours. On the other hand, the Hamitic 
race which invaded Uganda has now adopted the language 
of the Bantu people whom it conquered, just as the Teutonic 
Normans and Lombards exchanged their own for a Latin 

Owing to the extent to which both the physical and philo- 
logical data have been affected, it is obvious that the study of 
the African people would be an especially difficult branch of the 
science of anthropology, even if all the available information had 
been obtained and — had been collected by experts. But we 
know nothing of many tribes whose evidence would be most 
important ; while others, who might have supplied useful links 
of evidence, have been crushed out by famine or war, and left 
either no trace of their existence, or, like the Zimbas, live only 
as the memory of a once-dreaded name. Most of what is 
known, moreover, is due to the reports of travellers, whose 
opportunities of intercourse with the natives have been very 
limited, and who have brought no special training to the task 
of observation. 

It might therefore seem wiser to attempt nothing more than 
the record of new facts in the tabular form approved by anthro- 
pologists ; but the problems connected with this subject are so 
interesting, that we cannot dismiss the African native with a 
simple tabulation of nose lengths, and a iew pages of com- 
parative vocabulary. 

In spite of all the difficulties of the subject, it is now 
generally agreed that the African tribes may be divided 

1 A tribe living on the Sabaki, and elsewhere on the East Coast ; see p. 328. 




among five of the principal divisions of the human race — viz. 
Negrillo, Negro, Hamitic, Semitic, and Mongolian. The follow- 
ing account of the natives of British East Africa will deal with 

// 'alker & Bourn// sc. 

Fig. t8. — Ethnographical Map of Africa. 

them in this order, so far as they are represented in this region ; 
but before proceeding to this it will be convenient to summarise 
the classification adopted. 



Main division. 

Typical African tribes. 

Representatives in British 
East Africa. 

I. Negrillo. 

Pygmies and Bush- 

Doko of Laikipia. 

2, Negro. 

Section A. Papuan. 

Unrepresented in Africa. 

,, B. African. 

Division l. North- 

None in British East 

western or 



,, 2. Southern 

Pokomo, Wa-kamba, etc. 

or Bantu. 

,, 3. Negroid. 

Hausa and Fulah. 

Masai, Wa-ganda, etc. 

,, 4. Negrilloid. 


Some of Wanderobbo. 

3. Caucasian. 

Section A. Hamitic. 

Tribes of North-East- 
ern Africa. 

Galla, Somali, etc. 

,, B. Semitic. 

Moors and Abys- 


4. Mongolians : Section 

Sakalava and Hova 



of Madagascar. 

Section A. — The Stone Age in East Africa 

As we shall see in the following section, there is one tribe living in 
British East Africa which carries us far back in the history of the 
human occupation of this region. There are, however, traces of a 
still older race. It is well known that in Europe the earliest men were 
unacquainted with the art of preparing metals, and were only provided 
with weapons and implements made of stone, which occur in vast 
numbers in our river gravels. Similar tools have also been found in 
Northern Africa, and have been recorded from the Cape by Sir George 
Grey, Dale, Sanderson, Gooch, Penning, and other authors. Stone axes 
have been described from the Gold Coast by Winwoode Reade, 
Cameron, and Burton ; but in 1892 no record of old stone implements 
had been recorded from Equatorial or Eastern Tropical Africa. I was 
therefore interested, during an excursion up one of the side valleys of 
the Iveti Mountains, to find a chipped flake of obsidian. The flake was 
rough, but the chipping on its edge was unquestionably the work of 
man, while the material was absolutely different from any rock in the 
neighbourhood. I thought, however, that it might have been chipped 
by a Zanzibari for use as a gun-flint, and dropped on the caravan route 
which passed a few miles away. I therefore did not trouble any 
further. A few days later, on the Kapte plains, I found some more ; 


but small fragments of obsidian occurred in the volcanic tuff on which 
these lay, so the evidence was again inconclusive. I found some more 
specimens lying beside the track in the Kikuyu country, but still the 
gun -flint theory seemed a possible explanation. It was not till I 
reached the highest point of the Kikuyu uplands, before beginning the 
descent into the Rift Valley, that I found final proofs of a stone age 
in Equatorial Africa. I was digging in some gravels, searching for 
fossil shells, when I found a broken obsidian implement of the type 
known as a " ridged flake." Its edge was chipped, so that there was 
no question of its artificial origin ; and as it occurred in a patch of 
sand in a gravel, there was no doubt of its antiquity. After this I 
found similar implements in many different parts of the country, 
including the platform on the Kikuyu scarp, the alluvial plain of Lake 
Suess, the plateau between Lakes Losuguta and Kibibi, the lake 
terraces around Lake Baringo, on the Sobat pass leading from this lake 
basin to that of Sukut, on the summit of the pass across the range of 
Subugu (the Marmanett Berge of von Hohnel), and in many places on 
Laikipia, as, for example, at Nairotia. 

The best specimens came from a locality near the ford over the 
Gilgil river, where I found the site of an old settlement. As the 
implements were associated with hundreds of artificial chips, they were 
probably made on the spot. Fragments of rough pottery occurred at 
the same place, but I could find no bones, or tools made from 

The implements found are all made of obsidian, except a borer, 
which was of pitchstone. They consist of several different types, the 
principal of which are illustrated by the accompanying figures. 

The commonest implements are flakes, which are either flat, ridged 
(Fig. 19, No. i), or polygonal. A few with saw edges were met with, 
such as No. 4. The Gilgil site yielded several cores, from which 
obsidian flakes had been struck off" (No. 5). Flakes with one end 
bluntly rounded to use as skin scrapers (Nos. 2 and 3) are also repre- 
sented. Borers made from long splinter-like chips also occur, as in 
No. 7. Small knives, made by chipping away one or both edges of a 
flake, are fairly numerous, while the Gilgil camp yielded a triangular 
arrow head (No. 6). 

I asked many of the natives whether any such implements as these 
were used by existing tribes ; but they jeered at the idea that they could 
ever have been of service to any one. They said the only stones used 
were pumice, kaolin, and ochre. The first is obtained in many 
localities, and distributed owing to its value in sharpening spears. The 
kaolin, or china clay, and the ochre are both used as paints. 

There is, moreover, geological proof of the antiquity of these imple- 
ments. Both on the summit of the Kedong Pass, and in the old 
settlement at the Gilgil, the implements were found in situ, in deposits 
which must have been formed many centuries ago ; in the latter they 


must be earlier than a gorge cut through the lava there. Those from 
Baringo must also have been used at a time when that lake was much 
larger than at present. 

The forms of the implements do not give any definite evidence of 
great age. Sir John Evans has kindly examined some of them, and 
says they are of a neolithic type. 

irou^h a.b. 

Fig. 19. — Neolithic Stone Implements from Masailand. 

Recently three distinct descriptions of stone implements have come 
from Tropical Africa, M. Dupont has found some on the Congo ; 
Dr. Jousseaume ^ has described a series from Somaliland in an article 
in U Anthropologic ; and Mr. Seton-Karr has brought back a large series 
from the same country, which have been exhibited (September 1895) 
at the Ipswich meeting of the British Association. The Somaliland 

^ Jousseaume, " Reflexions anthropologiques a propos des Tumulus et Silex Taillts 
des ^omalis et des Danakil," L Anthropologie, t. vi. (1895), pp. 392-413. 


implements are identified by Sir John Evans as neolithic, and as they 
are apparently all made of chert, their evidence is more satisfactory 
than that of tools formed of obsidian. A record of a stone spear from 
the Kilima Njaro region has also been published, but there are many 
points in the account of it which render the testimony doubtful. 

Additional evidence of prehistoric people is afforded by the existence 
of stone cairns. These have long been reported from East Africa, but 
they have been explained as mere heaps of stones collected together in 
order to clear the ground for cultivation. I found two in the Sabaki valley, 
in positions where this explanation was quite impossible ; but as my men 
were two hours ahead, they could not be recalled to open them. Our 
Somali used to tell us that in their country there are three sets of ruins, 
those of the Somali and Galla, and those of a nation earlier than either 
of the others. The Sabaki graves are not like those of the Galla, which 
have been well described by Paulitschke, and it is much to be desired 
that one of them may be opened, and that any bones therein may be 
sent to Encfland. 

Section B. — The Negrillo or Pygmy Tribes 
The Doko of Lalkipia 

One of the most interesting results from explorations during the 
last half-century in the interior of Africa has been the confirmation of 
many reports by classical geographers and early travellers, which had 
previously been disbelieved. The discovery of the sources of the Nile 
has verified the assertion by Ptolemy, that it rose in two great inland 
lakes; and Dr. Schlichter's detailed comparison^ of Ptolemy's statements 
with present knowledge shows that the ancients were better informed 
upon the subject than the geographers of the last, and even of part of 
the present century. That the ancient Hindoos also had a certain 
knowledge of the continent is rendered probable by the facts reported by 

Moreover, it has now been shown that the accounts of pygmies, 
given both by classical authors and by the pioneers of modern African 
exploration, are not mere travellers' tales. Schweinfurth has carefully 
examined pygmies in the very district in which Pliny reported their 
presence, and recent travellers have shown that Andrew Battel, the 
discoverer of the gorilla, was not drawing on his imagination when, in 
1625, he described some dwarfs from the backwoods of Loanga. This 
ancient mariner, who, as the title of his story tells us, was, " sent by the 
Portugals prisoner to Angola, who lived there, and in the adioyning 

^ H. Schlichter, " Ptolemy's Topography of Eastern Equatorial Africa," Proc. Roy. 
Geog. Soc. new ser. vol. .\iii. (1891), pp. 513-546. 

- C. P. Rigby, " Remarks on the North-East Coast of Africa, and the various Tribes 
by which it is inhabited," Trans. Bombay Geog. Soc. vol. vi. (1844), pp. 89-90. 


Regions, neere eighteene yeeres," has so clearly described the pygmies 
that his account is worth quoting. "To the north-east of Mani Kesock 
are a kind of little people called Matimbas ; which are no bigger than 
Boyes of twelve yeares old, but are very thicke, and live onely vpon 
flesh, which they kill in the Woods with their Bowes and Darts. They 
pay tribute to Mani Kesock, and bring all the Elephants' teeth and 
tayles to him. . . . And of these [the women] will walke in the Woods 
alone and kill the Pongos [gorillas] with their poysoned Arrowes." ^ 

The records of these dwarf races are now very numerous, and relate 
to all parts of Africa south of the Sahara. The works of Paul du 
Chaillu, Oscar Lenz, and Marche demonstrate the occurrence of 
numerous settlements of these people in the region of the French 
Congo ; there they are scattered from the south of the Cameroons, 
through the Gabun and across the basin of the Ogowe, to the Congo 
near Stanley Pool. In the highlands to the west of Mwutan Nzige (the 
Albert Nyanza), which form the watershed between the Congo and the 
Nile, live other representatives of the Negrillo race, who have been 
carefully studied by many travellers.^ 

In the upper basin of the Congo and on the banks of its tributary, 
the Kasai, another group of tribes of dwarfs has been described,^ which 
has received the name of Watwa, Batwa, or Batua. Still farther to the 
south are a few settlements of similar people, such as the Mossaro, in 
the upper basin of the Zambesi. These are of much interest, because 
they link the dwarfs of the Congo with the Bushmen of Bechuanaland 
and the Cape.* 

Although the first reports of the existence of these dwarfs made 
during the present century came from British East Africa,^ no positive 
proof of their occurrence there had been published when I landed on 
the coast in 1892. Dwarfs had been found in the Ruwenzori district 
by Stuhlmann, and a portrait of a boy published by Borelli^ might 
have been regarded as proof of their existence to the south of 
Abyssinia ; but Cecchi '^ described the Doko, the tribe to which the 
boy belonged, as " negroes of tall stature," and Leo Reinish,^ the great 
authority on Hamitic languages, included the Doko in the Sidama, one 

1 Purchas, His Pilgrimes in Five Books, pt. 2 (vol. ii. ), lib. vii. ch. iii. (1625), p. 

- Schweinfurth, Junker, Casati, Emin, and Stanley. They have also been recorded 
by several others. 

3 By Stanley, Wissmann, Grenfell, Bateman, and Wolf. 

■* A useful bibliography of the pygmy races is given by Stuhlmann, Mit Emin 
Pasha, 1893 (1894), pp. 473-475. Also in appendix to English translation of De 
Quatrefages' The Pygmies (1895), '^PP- A and B, pp. 239-248. Schlichter's masterly 
summary of the literature is referred to on p. 332. 

^ T. Boteler, Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery to Africa and Arabia, etc., 1821 to 
1826 (1835), vol. ii. p. 212. 

^ Jules Borelli, lithiopie mdridionale (1890), p. 313. 

'' Ant. Cecchi, Da Zeila alle frontiere del Caffa (1885), vol. ii. p. 463. 

® L. Reinish, " Das Zalvvort vier and neun in dem chamitisch-semitischen Sprachen," 
Sitz. Phil. Hist. CI. K. Akad., Wiss. Wien. Bd. cxxi. Abh. xii. (1890), p. 4. 


of the three members of the High Kushite group of Hamites. Hence 
the only evidence of the existence of dwarfs to the east of the great lakes 
rested on native rumours. These, however, were very precise. They 
were first reported in detail by Captain Harris^ in 1844, who obtained 
the information in Shoa two years previously. He calls the dwarfs the 
" Doko," and says they are "a pygmy and perfectly wild race, not 
exceeding four feet in height, of a dark olive complexion, and in habits 
closely approximated to the beasts that perish." He describes their 
country as "clothed with a dense forest of bamboo, in the depths 
whereof the people construct their rude wigwams of bent canes and 
grass. They have no king, no laws, no arts, no arms ; possess neither 
flocks nor herds ; are not hunters, and do not cultivate the soil ; but 
subsist entirely upon fruit, roots, mice, serpents, reptiles, ants, and honey. 
. . . Both sexes go perfectly naked, and have thick pouting lips, small 
eyes. The hair is not woolly, and in the females reaches to the shoulders." 

This description was repeated by the Rev. J. L. Krapf in 1860,- 
who says he obtained the information from a native of Enarea when 
visiting Shoa on behalf of the Church Missionary Society. 

Nothing, however, is said about this in Krapf's earlier record of his 
journey,^ and it is impossible to compare the account of the Doko in 
his later book with that of Harris without concluding that Krapf's 
account is a plagiarism. This conclusion throws doubt on the value 
of his statement that he saw one of the pygmies in Barawa, and 
that it "accorded completely" with the description, which he had 
copied from Harris. 

Evidence in support of the existence of the East African dwarfs, 
which, though based only on hearsay, was apparently more reliable than 
that of Krapf, was given about the same time by Pere Leon des Avanchers. 
In 1859 this author recorded"^ the existence of the race of the Wa- 
berikimo, and marked them on a map as living to the west of a lake 
named El-Boo, or, as he called it in 1866,^ Lake Baro. In this latter 
paper he reported also the existence of a race named " Cincalle," or 
" What a marvel," to the south of Abyssinia. Rigby, moreover, in 1844 
mentioned that a tribe of dwarfs, the Berikimo, scarcely 3 feet in 
height, lived six weeks inland from Mombasa.^ But the latest informa- 

' W. C. Harris, "Particulars concerning the great River Gochol and the Countries 
adjacent thereto, from Native Information collected in the Kingdom of Shoa," Trans. 
Bombay Geog. Soc. vol. vi. (1844), pp. 63-64. This Gochol is the western of the two 
rivers said to enter the northern end of Basso Narok. 

^ J. L. Krapf, Travels, Researches, and Missionary Labours, etc. , in Eastern Africa 
(i860), pp. 43-45. 

^ Jas. M'Queen, Journals of the Rev. Messrs. Isenberg and Krapf, detailing their 
Proceedings in the Kingdom of Shoa, London, 1843. 

•* " Esquisse gtographique des pays Oromo ou Galla," Bull. Soc. Giog. st^r. 4, t. xvii. 
{1859), p. 163. 

* " Lettre k M. Antoine d'Abbadie," Bull. Soc. Gt'og., Paris, s^r. 5, t. xii. (1866), p. 

^ C. P. Rigby, " Remarks on the North-East Coast of Africa, and the various Tribes 
by which it is inhabited," Trans. Bombay Geog. Soc. vol. vi. (1844), p. 80. 


tion about this tribe, obtained by Paulitschke ^ from the Somah, placed 
It in tho valley of the Sobat, a tributary of the Nile. Its position was, 
therefore, removed 400 miles to the north-west, and outside British 
East Africa. 

Another statement that suggests the occurrence of dwarfs in this 
country is that, according to Tutschek, some of the slaves of the 
Galla on the eastern coast, the Wasania and Watwa, have " clicks " in 
their language. These clicks are very characteristic of the Bushmen 
and dwarf languages, and if the statement be true, then these two 
tribes must be Negrillo. It rests, however, solely on some remarks by 
Tutschek,^ and is improbable. Fischer gave a short vocabulary of the 
language of the Wasania,^ which shows that they now speak a dialect 
of Galla ; but the tribe is certainly not related to the Galla, and 
is either Bantu or Negrillo. Herr Wiirtz, one of the missionaries at 
Ngao, had seen some Wasania, but had not heard them use any clicks; 
indeed, he told me that Wasania is only the Ki-pokomo name for 
the Waboni. This, however, is doubtful, for Fischer gives lists of 
words from two languages which he assigns to the Wasania and the 
Waboni, and they differ widely from each other. Gedge ^ has described 
the habits of the Waboni from information collected by the members 
of the Tana Expedition, and these resemble those of the Doko. 
Nevertheless it is still impossible to say whether the Watwa, Wasania, 
and Waboni are one tribe or more, and whether they are Negrillo or 

There was, therefore, no reliable evidence of the occurrence of 
pygmies in British East Africa, and in my hasty march I did not 
expect to see any. 

On reaching the summit of the last pass over the chain of Subugu, 
to the south-east of Baringo, we saw in the distance the smoke of great 
prairie fires, which my men said were lighted by the Wanderobbo. I 
had tried to get information about these people in Mombasa, but could 
learn nothing satisfactory about them. Bird Thompson told me they 
were a tribe of " bastard Masai," but could not say which other race 
shared with the Masai the parentage of these people. The Rev. 
W.'E. Taylor, the keenest ethnographer on the coast, told me that 
they were a Bantu race who now spoke Masai. Paulitschke,^ on 
the other hand, says that they are a race with the physique of the 
Hamite, but speaking a true negro language. Mr. Taylor's view seemed 
such a natural one that I did not trouble much about the people, 
especially as my men said that the Wanderobbo are a wild race, who 

^ Phil. Paulitschke, Ethnographie Nord-ost Afrikas (1893), pp. 34-35. 

^ C. Tutschek, A Grammar of the Galla Language (1845), p. 6 ; but his statements 
do not bear out the claim rested upon them by later authors. 

•* Bd. x. (1878), pp. 141-144. 

•* E. Gedge, "A Recent Exploration up the River Tana," Proc. Hoy. Geog. Soc. new 
sen vol. xiv. (1892), p. 518. 

5 Of. cit. p. 33. 


live in the fastnesses of the forests, and will not enter into communica- 
tion with caravans. In one of the woods on Laikipia, a few miles 
to the north of the " Thelphusa swamp," we stumbled by accident on 
one of their deserted huts. It was a mere bivouac, formed of four 
upright logs, with the interspaces filled by brushwood, and covered by 
a pointed roof of twisted boughs. A few days later I had the good 
fortune to see some of the natives. I had left the path and was 
busily engaged collecting specimens of a tree St. John's Wort {Hy- 
pericimi Schiiiiperi, Hochst.), when I was recalled by a shout of "Watu" 
(People) from the men. I ran back to the point whence came the 
sound of my interpreter's voice, and forced a way through the bushes 
on to the path beside him. He was talking to a couple of naked 
natives, and I cannot say whether they or I were the most startled. 
They heard the rustle in the bushes and looked round, expecting to 
see another Zanzibari — and they saw me. Their hands dropped in 
horror, and one of them said to the other " Ngai " (God). I had 
expected and dreaded to find that they were Masai, instead of which 
they were Negrillos. They were both of them young men of about 
4 feet 6 inches in height. They were of a brown colour, different 
from the copper brown of the Zanzibari or Masai. They had bent 
shins, rounded heads, longish hair, and protruding jaws, and the outline 
of their backs had the characteristic Bushman curve. 

They spoke Masai, and readily consented to lead us to a ford 
over the Guaso Nairotia, and with much interest watched us pitch 
our camp. I sent one of them with a present to their father to 
ask him to visit us, and kept the other a hostage till he came. He 
arrived towards evening with three other men, of whom one was of 
normal size, and was clearly a half-breed Mkwafi. The bearing 
of the men was frank and unsuspicious ; they shook hands at once, 
without any of the preliminary palaver practised by the Masai. I 
happened to strike a match, and the " elder " was so interested that I 
gave him one or two, with which he promptly burnt his fingers. But this 
did not in any way interfere with his friendly attitude, and he im- 
mediately told us that he wanted to sell us some elephant tusks. He 
insisted, however, that we should at once " eat muma," or go through 
the rite of blood-brotherhood wuth him. He declined to do this with 
me, but said any of my men would serve as a substitute. Ramathan 
was selected, and the two men sat down together upon the ground, 
the Askari's rifle and the native's bow being placed side by side upon 
their heads. Each of the men made a slight incision on his arm, and 
the blood thus obtained was mixed together, and each of them 
smeared half the mixture on to one of his fingers and licked it off. 
Meanwhile Alii, a porter who knew some Masai, drew a knife back- 
wards and forwards along the weapons upon the men's heads, singing a 
wild Masai incantation, to the effect that the Mzungu and the Wander- 
obbo were thus made friends and brothers. 


I gave the elder a present of some wire, and insisted on his giving 
me one of his arrows in exchange. When he knew I wanted it as a 
keepsake and not for use, he took it back, and rapidly and adroitly 
carved a rough design upon it with the head of another arrow (Fig. 
20). I was delighted to see him do this, for skill in wood-carving 
and love of design are very characteristic of these Negrillo 

The elder left us at sunset, after arranging that some of 
his people might travel under our escort to the Kikuyu 
country to purchase food. I readily consented to this, 
hoping on the journey to find out more about them. I 
learnt, however, very little. They live in the recesses of 
the forests in small families or clans, scattered over an 
enormous extent of country. Their culture and habits are 
quite primitive. The pottery they have they buy from the 
Kikuyu, for they do not know how to make it. They do not 
cultivate anything, but live on wild fruits, roots, and the 
produce of the chase. They also collect honey and keep it 
in bags made from skins. They do not fish, and have no 
domesticated animals. Their only weapons are bows, arrows, 
and knives. Their dress merely consists of loose sheets of 
undressed skin, hung over the shoulders, but they are often 
prettily ornamented by designs of beads. Their personal 
ornaments are very simple, and they have none of the leg- 
rattles or finger-guards of the Masai. Earrings are worn in 
both the upper and lower lobes of the ear, and constitute 
their most elaborate adornments. The young men each 
had a " kipule " ^ formed of a string of ten white " pound- 
beads." One of the women who came with us, who was not 
a pure bred Doko, wore earrings in both lobes ; in the 
upper was a string of red and white beads, from which hung 
Doko'Arrow. ^ ^oop of iron chain, and from the lower a disc of coiled 
brass rod two inches in diameter was suspended by a 
leather belt. The elder of the clan had a pair of earrings, each made 
of two brass knobs on the ends of a bent piece of brass rod bound 
with iron wire. 

I did not discover in this tribe any trace of independent religious 
ideas. Their term for God is that of the Masai, and the rite of blood- 
brotherhood they have apparently acquired from the coast traders, for 
they know it only by its Suahili name. 

My interpreter, Ramathan Aperti, who had spent some time among 
the Wanderobbo of Rangatan Nyuki, on the western side of the Rift 
Valley, said the tribe has a language of its own, though they always use 
Masai when speaking to strangers. He said they would not allow any 

Fig. 20. 

1 The word means a dangling earring in the upper lobe; a " kipini " is a stud-like 
ornament inserted in the same part. 


foreigner to hear them talk in their own tongue, and added that the 
language was very simple, needing the help of signs to such an extent 
that the people cannot understand one another in the dark. I'his 
story is also told about the Aduyahs of Fernando Po by the late Colonel 
Ellis. ^ Ramathan could only tell me one word of their language, 
which was " lovoi " for water. The Masai term for this is "ngare." 
" Lovoi " has a certain resemblance to the words for water in other 
dwarf languages ; thus Stanley - says that the Bakwa word for this is 
" libo " ; while Stuhlmann ^ records the term in four dwarf languages as 
0-21, u-t(, ui, and oivn. 

I listened attentively in the hope of hearing the men use clicks like 
the Bushmen, unpronounceable sounds that have been compared to 
those made by coachmen to quicken the pace of their horses. The 
Bushmen have six such clicks, which have to be represented in writing 
by conventional signs. Thus '^I kamap" is the word for fox, ".'" indicat- 
ing the "cerebral click"; "|" represents the "palatal click," which may 
be imitated by pressing the tip of the tongue against the palate beside 
the gum and then suddenly withdrawing it; "(J" is the "labial click" 
made when a word is spoken, while the tongue is being rapidly moved 
as in flute - playing. Clicks have been found among some of the 
equatorial dwarfs, but in spite of the closest attention I could not 
detect any trace of them in the speech of these " Doko." The clicks 
have, however, probably been lost from the languages of most of the 
equatorial dwarfs. It is a well-known law in philology that languages 
tend to throw off sounds that are difficult of pronunciation ; thus in 
English the p in psalm is silent ; h has become mute in French, and in 
Italian has been lost even in the written language. 

When we reached the Kikuyu country, and the Doko guides had 
obtained from us all the protection they needed, they suddenly dis- 
appeared. I was disappointed to have found out so little about them. 
But it is quite evident that they are neither Bantu-speaking Masai, 
nor Hamitic people who have adopted a negro tongue. Though some 
of them were clearly mongrels of a Masai or Wa-kwafi parentage, the 
pure bred ones belonged to the dwarf Negrillo race. 

Stuhlmann, however, has recently met with some "Wanderobbo," 
and says they belong to the Hamitic race, and in appearance are much 
like the Masai.^ Mr. Scott Elliot also saw some men called by 
the same name, and says they were tall and slim, and therefore 
were probably Wa-kwafi. The name " Wanderobbo " is a Masai word 
meaning " poor fellows," and it is very likely applied by the Masai to any 
of the neighbouring tribes who live among the woods and have no 
cattle. It is only a term of contempt, analogous to that of " Washenzi " 

^ A. B. Ellis, West African Islands (1885), p. 76. 
2 H. M. Stanley, Darkest Africa, vol. ii. App. B, table facing p. 442. 
^ F. Stuhlmann, Mit Emin Pasha, p. 459. 
■* Stuhlmann, op. cit. p. 845. 


or "savages," which the Zanzibar! apply to any up-country natives. It 
is consequently of no scientific value, and must be discontinued as a 
tribal name. 

I could not learn from the people the name by which they call 
themselves, and therefore suggest that they should be called the " Doko," 
for they agree in habits, appearance, and position with the tribe thus 
named by Harris and Avanchers. The Doko were said to occur on a high, 
cold, misty plateau, in the neighbourhood of great bamboo forests ; their 
home is about six weeks' march from Mombasa, and between a snow- 
covered mountain called Obada and Lake El- Boo or Baro. The 
mountain must be Kenya,^ and the lake Baringo. Hence it seems 
safe to conclude that the Doko or Wa-berikimo of Harris, Avanchers, 
Krapf, and Rigby are the elephant-hunting Negrillo on the plateau of 
Laikipia and the district to the north. 

The use of the term Negrillo for these Doko raises the question 
of its scientific value. The first striking point in connection with the 
African pygmies is their occurrence in numerous small, scattered, 
isolated colonies. This may be explained in two ways. "Discontinuous 
distribution " such as this is usually regarded in biology as suggestive of 
great age, and this has led to the view that the dwarfs are the survivors 
of a race that once occupied the whole continent south of the Sahara. 
On the other hand, it is possible that they may have arisen independ- 
ently by degeneration from different negro tribes. The latter view is 
supported by Sir William Flower- from a detailed description of some 
Akka skeletons sent home by Emin, and he accepts for the dwarf tribes 
Hamy's ^ name of Negrillo, regarding those of Africa and Polynesia as 
"parallel ethnical elements." Dr. Schlichter,"* however, in a masterly 
review of the literature of the whole subject, expresses his belief that 
the skulls in the College of Surgeons Museum, with which those of 
the Akka were compared, are possibly not those of pure Bushmen. 
Stuhlmann's ^ admirable photographs of the dwarfs from the west of 
Ruwenzori show that the " steatopygy " characteristic of the Bushmen 
is well marked in some of the equatorial dwarfs, and this removes 
another strong objection to the theory which regards them as the 
African aborigines. This theory has also been recently supported by 

^ Kenya is not a native name for the mountain. Obada may possibly be based on 
Ebor or Ebar, which is the IVIasai name of Kenya. The fact that L6on des Avanchers 
inserts both El-Boo and Baharingo on his map suggests that the former should be 
regarded as Basso Narok ; but his Baharingo is the Victoria Nyanza, and his El-Boo 
cannot be Basso Narok, for he says it is surrounded by Wa-k\vafi, and Baringo is the 
only lake of which this is true. 

^ W. H. Flower, "Description of two Skeletons of Akkas, a Pygmy Race from 
Central Africa," lourn. Anthrop. Instit. vol. xviii. (1888), pp. 3-19, PI. i.-iii. 

■* Haniy, " Essai de coordination des mat6riaux recemment recueillis sur I'ethnologie 
des n^grilles ou pygmies de I'Afrique equatoriale, " Bull. Soc. Anthrop., Paris, s^r. 3, t. 
ii. (1879), p. 100. 

* H. Schlichter, "The Pygmy Tribes of Africa," Scott, Geog. I^lag. vol. viii. (1892), 
pp. 289-301, 345-356. 

^ F. Stuhlmann, Mit Emin Pasha, PI. xvi. xvii. 


the discovery of clicks in the language of some of the tribes.^ No 
doubt the colonies have long been isolated, and have been forced 
to live in situations where the conditions of life are unfavourable ; 
thus considerable differences between the various tribes have been 
developed. Nevertheless the several descriptions agree in three 
points. First ^ — the people are small in stature, the measurements 
that can be relied on giving them a height of from 3^ to 5 
feet. Second — they are lighter in colour, being described either 
as olive brown, yellowish brown, or chocolate-coloured. Third — their 
habits and mode of life are of extreme simplicity. Reports that go 
into greater detail, moreover, show that the dwarf races have large 
rounded heads, are prognathous {i.e. have protruding jaws), and have 
short legs. 

It is accordingly claimed by some ethnologists that the equatorial 
dwarfs agree with the Bushmen of Cape Colony in physical features, 
colour, sounds, and mental characteristics, and therefore belong to the 
same race group. The earliest writers on the subject attributed the 
origin of these light-coloured, primitive Bushmen to a settlement of a 
colony from over the sea. This is improbable, for whatever the Bushmen 
are, they are not sailors. It is far more likely that they entered Cape 
Colony by a migration from the north, for there is historical evidence to 
prove that they (and their half-breed allies, the Hottentots) once lived 
much farther toward the north than they do at present. Now they are 
limited to the south of a line leaving the western coast in latitude 22° 
S., which runs northward to the Zambesi valley in lat. 17° S. long. 20° 
E., and then turns southward, and passing Lake Ngami and through 
Bechuanaland, reaches the eastern coast near Port Elizabeth. In the 
eighteenth century, however, both they and the Hottentots were met 
with much farther to the north, as in 1767 a Dutch ship under 
" Corporal Thomas Hobma " found them all along the west coast up 
to 12" 47'.- Philology affords further evidence of this fact. Thus the 
Bapedi call the country to the west of them " Boroa," which means the 
" country of the Bushmen," though at present the district is inhabited 
by Bantu people.^ Fritsch,* in fact, in his great monograph on the 
South African races, concludes that the Bushmen once extended 
throughout South Africa up to the Zambesi, and perhaps beyond it. 
Beke would carry them farther, for he compared the drawings with 
which they ornamented their rock shelters to the hieroglyphs of tlie 
Egyptians, and placed them among the Hamites as relatives of the 
Copts. Others, on no better grounds, made them close allies of the 
Semitic Phoenicians, or even of the Jews. The drawings of the Bush- 

1 For example, the tribe reported by Serpo Tinto from the region between the 
Kuando and the Kubango, two of the head streams of the Zambesi. 

- A. Merensky, Bcitrdge stir Kemitniss Sud-Afrikas, p. "jj. 

'^ Ratzel, Volkerltunde, Bd. i. (1887), p. 118, and Merensky, op. cit. p. 78. 

■* Gustav Fritsch, Die Eingehormen Snd-Afrikas, Ethnographiscli und A?iaiomisc/i 
(Breslau, 1872), p. 386. 


men, however, far more nearly resemble those made by the aborigines 
of Southern Australia than they do those of Egypt,^ and similarities 
in the folklore of the two races have been frequently recorded.'^ For 
example, the Australians say that light originated by an emu's egg 
being thrown into space ; the Bushmen have the same legend, except 
that a man is substituted for the egg. In the Milky Way, the Austra- 
lians see the smoke of fires of the old race that preceded them, and 
the Bushmen smoke made by a girl throwing wood ashes into the sky. 
The Magellan clouds, according to both races, are a pair of animals ; 
but the Australians call them birds, and the Bushmen steinbock. The 
star Arcturus supplies both people with food, giving the larva of the 
wood-ant to the Australians, and rice to the Bushmen. 

Moreover, the physical features, weapons, and domestic implements 
of the Bushmen and the equatorial dwarfs are similar to those of the 
aborigines of Malaysia. Some anthropologists, such as Professor 
Keane, regard this as so well established, as to give valuable support to 
the theory of the existence of the hypothetical continent of Lemuria 
over the site of the Indian Ocean, and even to show that this land area 
must have been contemporary with man. According to this view a 
pygmy race once extended throughout Africa, south of the Sahara, and 
through India, Malaysia, and Australia, from which the natives of the 
Andaman Islands, the aborigines of Australasia, the Akka of the 
Congo, the Doko of Laikipia, and the Bushmen of the Cape are all 

This is no doubt a very attractive theory, for it offers a simple 
explanation of the resemblances between the aborigines of Africa and 
of Polynesia. Should it be proved that the main physical characters 
of all these dwarf races are the same, then the theory will probably 
meet with ultimate acceptance. But if, as Sir William Flower maintains, 
the skulls of the Akka are those of degenerate negroes, and differ 
fundamentally from those of the Bushmen and of the Polynesian 
Negrito, then the theory cannot be upheld. In that case, the group 
proposed by Hamy for the tropical African dwarfs under the name of 
Negrillo must be retained. It will rank as a section of the African 
negroes, instead of being kept as a distinct group, or being included 
with the Bushmen and Polynesian pygmies, in one great aboriginal race 
— the Negrito. 

Section C. — The Negro Races 
The term Negro is defined in Walker's Dictionary as " a native or 

^ Compare those shown in ilhistration of the recent paper by R. H. Mathews, 
"Aboriginal Rock Paintings and Carvings in New South Wales," Proc. Roy. Soc. Vict 
new ser. vol. vii. (1895), pp. 142-156, PI. viii. ix. ' 

- See, for e.xample, W. H. I. Bleek, "On Resemblances in Bushman and Australian 
Mythology," Cape Monthly Mag. new ser. vol. viii. (Feb. 1874), PP- 98-102. 


descendant of the black, woolly-headed races of man in Africa," a 
definition which probably correctly expresses the popular significance 
of the term. This is not, however, the sense in which it is used by 
most ethnographers. As popularly understood the term includes the 
Bushmen, who are Negrillo, and the inhabitants of Madagascar, who 
are Malays ; while it excludes all people not inhabitants of Africa, 
except the descendants of the slaves in America, and the " Sidi " 
colonies of India. But in ethnology the term Negro is used in three 
different ways, (i) One school restricts it to a group of tribes which 
inhabit a comparatively narrow belt of Africa, that stretches with 
certain breaks from the mouth of the Senegal river (18° N. lat.) on the 
west coast of Guinea, to near the Equator on the Upper Nile. Their 
most striking features are a long narrow head, black woolly hair, dark 
brown or sometimes black skin, and thick lips and broad nose. But 
the tribes are not united, either by their features or languages, into a 
homogeneous group. (2) Ratzel distinguishes by the name all the 
dark, woolly-haired Africans from the light-coloured or long-haired races, 
such as the Bushmen of the Cape, and the inhabitants of Northern and 
North -Eastern Africa.^ (3) A third use of the name, and the one 
which I have followed, includes under it all people with very dark- 
coloured skins, frizzly hair, and protruding jaws, and most of whom 
have also broad noses and thick lips. 

According to the use of the term here adopted, the people included 
as Negro are divided into two groups — the frizzly-haired Papuans of 
Polynesia, and the Negroes of Africa. The former may be at once 
dismissed, as they are unrepresented in Africa ; the latter can be 
divided into four sub-groups — 

1. The North-Western or Soudanese. 

2. The Southern or Bantu. 

3. The Negroid. 

4. The Negrilloid. 

The Soudanese group includes the typical tribes of Negroes, to 
which Keane and some other ethnographers restrict the term. The 
members of this group have certain physical characters in common, 
although these are not easily defined. The languages, however, are 
extraordinarily numerous, and belong to many distinct groups. This 
division of the Negro race need not concern us, for although repre- 
sentatives of it are met with on the western bank of the Upper Nile, 
none are known to occur in Eastern British East Africa. 

The second group, or the Bantu, occupies nearly the whole of 
Africa south of a line drawn from the Cameroons to the mouth of the 
Juba. Here and there in this vast area occur isolated tribes who are 
not Negro at all. Some of these, like the Bushmen and the dwarfs, are 
remnants of the aboriginal inhabitants ; others are Hamitic invaders 

1 Ratzel, Volkerkunde, Bd. i. p. 129. 


from the north. Unlike the Soudanese group, the Bantu is charac- 
terised by the intimate relations of all its languages, while the physical 
features of the people are diverse. The Bantu group is therefore based 
on linguistic, and not on physical grounds ; whereas the Soudanese 
group is physically simple and philologically complex. The Bantu is 
the most important race group in British East Africa, including such 
tribes as the Wa-kamba, Wa-taita, VVa-nyika, Wa-pokomo, and Suahili. 
To it also belong the Kaffirs of the Cape, the Zulu, Matabili, Mashona, 
and various tribes around Nyasa, and most of the natives of the Congo 

The two remaining groups are purely artificial. They contain races 
which are mongrel between either the Soudanese or Bantu, and various 
non- Negro elements. The first group, or the Negroid, results from 
intermixtures of Negro and Hamitic races. Its most important repre- 
sentatives are combinations of Hamites and Soudanese, such as the 
Nuba of the Nile Valley, and the Fulah of the western and the Haussa 
of the central Soudan. Corresponding mongrels of Hamites and 
Bantu are common in British East Africa, and include the Waganda 
and Masai. 

The Suahili of the eastern coast ought perhaps also to be included 
among the Negroids ; altogether the foreign element is Semitic instead 
of Hamitic. But as the amount of Semitic blood in the tribe is small, 
it is most convenient to leave it with the Bantu. 

The fourth or Negrilloid group includes the tribes which are inter- 
mixtures of Negro and Negrillo. They are far less important than the 
Negroid, owing to the comparative rarity of the Negrillo element in the 
continent. The Hottentots of the Cape are the best known repre- 
sentatives, but the Wambuba and some other less known tribes, and 
some of the " Wanderobbo," have a similar origin. 

{a) The Bantu of British East Africa 
I. The Suahili 

The Bantu people constitute the basis of the population of British 
East Africa, and, with the exception of a sprinkling of Negrillo or 
dwarf races, were probably at no very distant period the only inhabitants 
of that region. The number of tribes in the country is still considerable, 
though their power has been broken and their range reduced by the 
invasion of the Negroid Masai, and of the Hamitic Galla and Somali. 

The first of the Bantu people with whom the traveller comes in 
contact are the Suahili, a hybrid race, resulting from the intermixture 
of Arab colonists with the Bantu natives of the eastern coast of Africa. 
For centuries, probably for tens of centuries, a steady stream of 
immigration has flowed from Arabia to East Africa. The Arabs 
intermarried with most of the tribes on the coast, and with many of 
the people from the interior who were carried there as slaves. The 


offspring of these unions are the SuahiH. In some cases they are 
normal haif-breed Arabs ; from this type a gradual transition can be 
traced to that of the children of parents of different Bantu tribes, in 
one of whom an obscure trace of Semitic blood occurs. 

As to the date of the first entrance of the Arab settlers there is no 
sufficient evidence. I had, however, owing to the kindness of Mr. 
Bird Thompson, the pleasure of meeting at Witu an old Suahili named 
Sherifu ben Abdullah, who had been secretary to the Sultan of Witu, 
and had long been interested in the past history of his race. In a 
series of conversations, in which Thompson acted as interpreter, he 
told me some of the current traditions about the various settlements on 
the coast. According to his information there were three main intro- 
ductions of outside influence. Originally the coast was occupied by 
natives of whom Sherifu knew nothing. They were no doubt Bantu, 
and probably spoke Ki-ngozi, an archaic form of the Suahili language 
now used only in poetry. Then, most likely long before the Christian era, 
the Arabs opened a trade with Africa, and their vessels sailed down the 
coast. According to Bent it was an Arabian race that erected the 
ruined buildings of Zimbabwe, and first worked the gold mines of 
Mashonaland. That traces of this influence still survive in that district 
is shown by the fact that the natives still ornament their utensils with a 
crescentic and herring-bone design of a characteristically Arabian type. 
Bent's conclusion has not passed unchallenged, though the evidence in 
its favour is very strong. If it be accepted, then it is possible that the 
Arab settlements on the eastern coast were made in connection with this 
trade. There is, however, no doubt that Phoenician and Egyptian 
merchants sailed down the Red Sea and along the African coast several 
centuries before the time of Christ. They were either preceded or 
soon followed by Arabian traders, who established settlements along 
the coast. The first of these were probably in what is now Somaliland, 
whence they gradually extended southward. 

The second stage in the history of the East African coast was 
entered about 700 years ago, when a settlement took place of which 
traditions are still current, confirmed it is said by manuscripts in 
the possession of some of the old Arab families at Lamu. There 
was a great fight in Muscat between two factions, one of which, 
the Nabahani, was defeated and its members expelled. Under their 
leader Saif the exiles settled on the island of Patta, opposite Lamu. 

A couple of centuries later the Portuguese began to colonise the 
district. They worked their way along the coast from the south, and, 
finding Lamu a convenient point whence to sail eastward to India, 
they made their first permanent settlement on that island. They 
built a station, which is now the town of Sheila, by the entrance to the 
liarbour. An old church, now used as a mosque, and some ruined 
buildings still remain as relics of this occupation. 

The Portuguese were finally expelled from the coast by the united 



efforts of the Mazrui (the leading family of Arab settlers), the natives of 
the coast, and fresh bands of Asiatic emigrants. The Portuguese had, 
however, left their mark on the language, and, if my informant be 
correct, in some places also on the physical character of the people. 
Sherifu knew that the Suahili language was indebted to the Portuguese ; 
thus before they came there was no word for " table," and the Portuguese 
meza was therefore adopted. He also said that the people of Siyu, an 
island of the Lamu group, were really Somali, changed by intermarriage 
with the Portuguese settlers. 

After the expulsion of the Portuguese, the whole coast gradually 
became subject to the Sultan of Muscat, or (as he is more correctly 
named), the Iman of Oman, and it continued to receive fresh contingents 
of Arabian settlers. 

There were thus three periods in the growth of Semitic influence on 
the coast — the long prehistoric immigration ; the settlement of the 
Nabahani ; the conflict with the Portuguese, and the final rule of the 
Iman of Oman. 

One of the proofs that the rise of the Arabian power dates back to 
pre-Mohammedan days is supplied by the religion of the Suahili, which 
is Islamism of a modified and very tolerant type. My friend Sherifu 
told me that for a long time the east coast Arabs declined to accept 
Islam, although at the cost of a desperate struggle with their fanatical 
compatriots. When at length they bowed the knee to Mohammed, 
they introduced many modifications into the creed, and have ever acted 
up to their motto, " Kafiri akufage, si Isilamu asiyekufaa " (Better a 
useful infidel than a useless believer). 

The following are the chief points of difference between Arab and 
Suahili Mohammedanism : — 

1. If a slave woman bears a child to an Arab owner, the child only 
is free, whereas both the woman and child are free according to 
Suahili law. 

2. If an Arab touches a European when on his way to mosque, he 
has to wash his face and hands before entering, whereas a Suahili 
regards this as unnecessary. 

3. The Suahili will eat with Europeans, and take food killed by 
them, though not by a native of another tribe. A Muscat Arab, how- 
ever, will not take any food unless killed by a Mohammedan. 

4. The Suahili, on the other hand, are more particular over contact 
with dogs. If an Arab touches one, he is purified by washing once ; 
whereas a Suahili has to wash six times in water and then once with 

5. When travelling, the Suahili merge the middle day and after- 
noon prayers into one, and also those at sunset and at eight o'clock. 
But after staying in a place for eighteen days, the Suahili have to 
make the four prayers separately ; whereas the Muscat Arabs do not 
revert to the ordinary ritual until their return to Muscat 


6. If a Suahili free a slave who subsequently becomes rich, upon 
the death of the slave the property passes to his old master ; whereas 
that of a slave freed by an Arab is at the absolute disposal of its owner. ^ 

Sherifu said there were other differences, but that these were the 
chief. He laughingly added that even these were only matters of 
ritual, and it was absurd to make so much fuss about them. He said 
that the two sects are excessively bitter against one another ; they both 
claim to be the true interpreters of the Koran, and say that the others 
are liars. They carry this sectarian bitterness to such a length that 
they will not worship in the same mosque, and would even prefer to 
allow a European to enter one than a member of the rival sect. 

A point of some interest in connection with the Suahili race is the 
belief on the east coast that marriages between them are either barren, 
or productive only of one or two children, who are themselves invari- 
ably sterile. This was told me by several residents, whose evidence 
is especially reliable, as they were not aware of its bearing on any 
biological theories. The statement was first reported to me by Bird 
Thompson, and subsequently by Herr Wiirtz of Ngao. The races, 
however, in the towns of the coast zone are so mixed, that the true 
light-coloured Suahili are scarce, and such marriages are unusual. The 
people who call themselves Arabs are generally half-breeds, and it is 
very rarely that either parent of a Suahili is of pure Arab origin. It is, 
however, asserted on the coast, that if the child of an Arab by any of 
the coast women {i.e. a true Suahili) marry one of the offspring of a 
similar union, then the marriage is either barren or the offspring are 

If this could be proved, it would have an interesting bearing on the 
question of the unity of the human species, for the main argument in 
support of this is, that all the races of mankind are capable, when 
crossed, of yielding fertile offspring. 

The most interesting point, however, about the Suahili is their 
language, the lingua franca of Equatorial Africa, a knowledge of which 
enables a traveller to make himself understood by most of the Bantu 
tribes of the interior, and even as far west as the Congo Basin and 
the Atlantic coast. The language, indeed, is more important than the 
race, being one of the six great languages spoken at the present day. 
It may therefore be advisable to refer to the three main characters by 
which it differs in structure from the languages of the Indo-European 

The first peculiarity of the P>antu language is its use of prefixes, 
instead of suffixes, in declension. As an example take the word for 
" good." In Latin the various forms of the word are bonus, bona, 
honuni, bofii, bono, etc. In Ki-suahili they are ngenm, njcnui, Jenia, 

^ It should be remembered that these rules are not now strictly obeyed, owing to 
European interference and native religious indifference. 


niwema, wema, viema, pema, chema, vyema, and kwema. The root is 
here the final, instead of the first syllable. Any one used only to 
European languages would at first think jigenia, pema, and vye?na to be 
altogether different words ; and, on the other hand, from analogy with 
ho?ia, boni, bono, would expect vita, i?iti, into, intii to be different forms 
of the same root. But ;;//(;: means "town," ;;///" tree," into "river," 
and mtu "man." Thus it is the ending -^;«fl', -/a, -^'/, -to, -tu that is the 
fixed and essential part of the word, while the first syllable is variable 
and less important. 

The changes in the first syllable serve several purposes. They 
express number in nouns, bring adjectives and pronouns into agreement 
with the words they qualify, and indicate the moods and tenses of 
verbs. Thus mtu means "a man," and watu "men"; niti "a tree," 
miti " trees " ; kilemba " a turban," vileniba " turbans " ; chombo " a 
d^o\i" vyonibo "dhows." Again, kupata is the infinitive mood of "to 
get " (ku being the preposition " to ") ; inapata is the present tense of 
this verb, napata the past, and tapata the future. 

Another set of prefixes are abbreviations which enable ideas to be 
expressed in one word, which in English require several. Thus M- 
prefixed to the root of the name for a district is short for mtu, and 
means a native of the tribe which occupies it ; Wa- is an abbreviation 
for watu, and means two or more of the natives ; similarly the prefix 
U- attached to the root indicates the name of the country, and Ki- 
either the language of the tribe or the adjectival form of the name. 
Thus U-kainba is the name of a district in East Africa ; Wa-kaviba is 
the name of the tribe which inhabits it ; M-kainba that of a single 
member. Ki-kamba is either the proper adjective relating to the tribe, 
or, as a noun, is the name of its language. Similarly U-nyika is the 
Nyika country, the Wa-nyika the people that dwell therein ; an 
M-nyika is one member of the tribe, and Ki-nyika its language. 

In other divisions of the Bantu the same variations are expressed 
by similar, though sometimes slightly different prefixes. Thus Isizidu 
is the Zulu language. Bu-ganda is the name of the country generally 
known in England as Uganda ; a native of the country is an M-ganda, 
of which Wa-ganda is the plural, and Lu-ganda is the language. 

The adjectives, numerals, and pronouns, and in some cases the verb 
also, have to agree with the noun. They are all consequently declined 
in accordance with a set of rules known as the "concord," which is a 
second interesting feature in Ki-suahili. The nouns are divided into- 
eight classes, according to the formation of the plural. All the vari- 
able parts of speech are declined in the same way as the nouns, though 
this is sometimes masked by contractions. This is shown by the 
following examples : — 

Mtu inema = " a good man." Mti nnveina = " a good tree." 

Watu wabili wema - " two good Miti inibili inema = " two good 

men." trees." 


To take a longer case, " My good child must have food " is 

Mtoto niema mangti mana jocula. 
Conversion into the plural changes it to 

Watoto wema waiigu wana jocula. 

This concord, though it makes the grammar rather difficult, renders 
the language musical by its adoption of "apt alliteration's artful aid." 
This is also increased owing to every word ending in a vowel, a rule 
which is even applied to words of foreign origin ; so that a " man-of-war " 
becomes manowari, and a " gin " j'tnt. 

A third feature in the language strange to a European is the method 
of agglutination or combination of several words into one, so that a 
sentence is sometimes converted into a single word, as in the Suahili 
riddle, Hausuiiiki, hausimami. A more instructive case is such a 
compound as Nttakipofaje, meaning " how shall I get it," which is 
constituted as follows : — • 

Ni- ta- ki- pata- je. 

sign of 
I future it get how. 


The pronominal inflections, concord, and agglutination shows that 
Ki-suahili is a language that has undergone many changes, but it is of 
interest to note that it still shows many traces of a primitive condition. 
Thus it is essentially a spoken language, for although it has long been 
written in Arabic characters, this has not affected its structure. Hence 
there are no degrees of comparison, for these can be expressed by 
modulations of the voice. Thus vihali means " far " • but mbdh\ pro- 
nounced slowly, with a strong emphasis on the middle syllable, implies 
" very far " ; if, again, it be spoken in a high-pitched voice, it means 
"a very great distance away." Similarly msuri, when applied to food, 
means " nice " ; visTiri is " very nice " ; and if the word be said with a 
smack of the lips and a rolling of the tongue it means " delicious." 

The language in this respect is poor, as it is also in terms ; but in 
some cases it is richer than English. Thus it has three words for 
" handful " — kofizi, the amount that can be grasped in the hand ; nk2{fi, 
that which will rest on one ; and chopa, that which will lie on both hands 
together. The precision in the use of these terms is, however, only a 
result of the crudeness of the native system of weights and measures. 

The abundance of imitative words is also a primitive character. 
Thus " fly " is ntzi., the sound of which is a suggestion of its buzz ; kuhi 
is "fowl," and tufii-tufu is "boiling." Kiboko, the hippopotamus, reminds 
one of the short, deep grunt of this animal, just as paa does of the 
bleat of the small antelope, of which it is the native name. Uma (to 
ache), -anana (gentle), and -ororo (soft), are less obvious illustrations of 
the same type. 

The frequent reduplication of words in order to emphasise their 
meaning or to express the plural is another primitive feature, which in 
English is preserved only in such survivals as//, for "pages," and the 


double /for " laws " in the symbol LL.D. Poli'is " slow," but so sluggish 
are the habits of the ordinary Suahili that the word is nearly always 
used in its more emphatic form oi poU-poli. Kupasuka is " to be torn " 
{ku being the infinitive preposition "to"); kupasukapastika is "to be 
torn into shreds." Pale is " that " ; palepale means " that one there." 
This reduplication is like that of the Zulu, in which kulu being "great," 
nkuluiikulu, "the great-great," is the name for God. 

Cases of repetition of either one or several syllables in a word are 
almost innumerable, such as mkoko, " the mangrove," or mguruguru, 
the native name of a species of lizard. 

The homely baby words which occur in every language are, of 
course, met with in Ki-suahili. Ababi, " my lord," is the same as the 
"abba" of many Oriental languages. Alama for "mother," and //// 
for "a nipple," remind us of the use of these words in English; ku 
lala, "to go to sleep," and ku kwenda tata, "to toddle" {kti being 
the preposition "to" and kzvenda the verb "go"), also agree with 
English usage ; but in Ki-suahili lala and tata are the formal words and 
not merely baby language. In other cases, however, these primitive 
sounds have different meanings in English, and these are suggestive of 
differences in the social customs of the people. Thus dada means 
" a sister," which is an indication of the importance of the elder girls in 
the nursery. Bibi for "grandmother" reminds us that, owing to early 
marriages and to women sharing in the hard labour of the field, grand- 
parents play a more active part in the care of children than they do in 
England. Baba stands for "father," v^hWo. papa is a "shark," the 
meaning of which is not obvious. 

The language of this people is therefore worthy of at least passing 
consideration, for it introduces us to a type of grammatical structure 
which is strikingly different from that of the Indo-European group, and 
it retains so many primitive features as to afford suggestive illustrations 
of the growth of language and of grammar. 

2. 77?^ Wa-pokomo 

In striking contrast to the Suahili of the eastern coast are the Wa- 
pokomo of the valley of the Tana. While the former have been 
affected by many foreign influences, the latter, living in their swamp- 
surrounded homes, have preserved their primitive simplicity. In spite 
of the proximity of the tribe to the coast, very little has been written 
about it. Krapf^ published a vocabulary of the Ki-pokomo in 1850, 
and New 2 in 1873 gave a short list of words in the language, and a 
brief description of some of the villages nearest the coast. Fischer ^ 

^ J. L. Krapf, Vocabulary of Six East African Languages [\%zp). 
2 C. New, Life, Wanderings, and Labours in Eastern Africa (1873), pp. 526-527. 
^ G. A. Fischer, "Die Sprachen im siidlichen Gala-Lande, " Z.eit. fur. Ethtiol. BdJ 
X. (1878), pp. 141-144. 



Page 343. 


in 1878 gave a more reliable comparative vocabulary, which showed 
that the language is closely allied to Ki-suahili. 

The Wa-pokomo may be at once distinguished from their neigh- 
bours by their powerful physique. They are taller than the Suahili, 
and their massive herculean frames are strikingly different from 
those of the thin -limbed Somali and Galla (compare PI. XVHI. 
and XIX.). The second feature in the people that impresses itself 
upon a visitor is their affectionate, kind-hearted, happy-go-lucky 
nature. They seem far more attached to one another than African 
natives usually are, and the domestic virtues are developed in them to 
an unusual extent. 

The position held by women in the tribe is exceptionally favour- 
able. According to Bird Thompson ^ the Wa-pokomo are actually 
monogamous. In some of the smaller villages this really appears to 
be the case ; but it is probably owing to the paucity of women, from 
the extent to which they have been carried away by raiding parties of 
Somali and Suahili. Herr Wiirtz of Ngao assured me, however, that 
a man may have as many wives as he can buy, while many men are 
compelled to be polygamists against their will, owing to their inherit- 
ance of the wives of a deceased brother. Most of the elders in the 
villages on the Lower Tana appear to have the right to treat the 
wives of their sons as concubines. The morality of the tribe is, there- 
fore, not so high as has been stated. The position of the women in 
other ways is, however, undeniably superior to that of other tribes. 
The girls are often betrothed when six years old, and their lovers then 
begin to make presents to them ; but marriage does not take place 
until the women are adult. In some districts early marriage is pre- 
vented by the rule that no man may marry until he has killed a 
crocodile, and given a part of the flesh to the woman to eat ; but this 
does not seem to be enforced in the villages of the Lower Tana. The 
Wa-pokomo say that it is owing to the late date of marriage among 
them that they are so much stronger than the Suahili. 

The women spend most of their time in the villages and do not 
work much, either in the fields or on the river. During the pressure 
of work at sowing time and harvest they help the men ; but the latter 
do most of the hard work, such as hoeing the ground, while the 
women sow the seeds or transplant the young plants. When travelling 
in canoes, the paddling is left to the men. A point still more to the 
credit of this tribe is that the women share the pleasures of the men. 
Thus they join in the dances on equal terms, and take their meals with 
the men, in spite of Drummond's remarkable assertion- that " no African 
would ever demean himself by eating with a woman." 

^ Mr. Thompson's opinion on this point has been previously quoted by E. Gedge, 
"A Recent Exploration up the River Tana," Proc. Roy. Geog. Soc. new ser. vol. xiv. 
(1892), p. 516. 

^ Tropical Africa, 4th ed. p. 59. 


The valour of the Wa-pokomo is, however, not equal to their 
domestic virtue. A more cowardly race of men it w^ould be difficult 
to find. Their timidity was impressed on me owing to the trouble 
I had to get into communication with them, and then to allay their 
suspicions and fears. They have for so long submitted to being 
raided and oppressed by the Suahili, Somali, and Galla, that they 
appear to have completely lost any idea of how to fight. They have 
spears, but these are only used as paddles and against crocodiles, 
reed-rats, lizards, and fish. In spite of their great personal strength, 
they apparently never attempt to use their weapons in self-defence. 
When a Somali raiding party appears on the Tana, it orders the Wa- 
pokomo to provide " maus " or canoes ; and though the Wa-pokomo 
know that these will be used against themselves, they weakly obey. 
But it is hardly fair to expect men who do all the manual labour of 
the tribe to show the same military prowess, as those who specialise 
in war and the chase, and leave all the work of the village and of the 
fields to the women. An animal cannot be both a war-horse and a 
dray-horse, and the constant danger of slavery, death, or famine is the 
price the Wa-pokomo women pay for the lack of specialisation in 
labour, or, as it might otherwise be expressed, the equality of the 

The Pokomo religion is a fetichism of which very little is known, 
for the rites are secret. Each man carries about with him a charm, 
and most of the villages have a little shed built to protect some small 
article, such as an empty bottle, a used cartridge case, or an old meat 
tin, which is buried in the ground, as a protection against the Somali. 
Herr Wiirtz of Ngao has found out most about the religion of the 
people, and the following information was mainly given me by him. 
The Pokomo god is named "Auri mwantya dsongo ngombe auri 
kinemu " ; but this name is secret, and Herr Wiirtz has never been 
able to find out its meaning. The god is always spoken of as the 
" Old Man of the Woods " ; he is held in great horror, and formerly 
no young M-pokomo would go into a forest for fear of him. The 
elders of the village are the priests, and form an order, Ngadsi, the 
members of which are all sworn to secrecy. In each village there 
is a small oblong hut, very different from the beehive-shaped houses 
of the people. I asked at Vuju what it was, and being told that it 
was the prison I went inside. It was quite empty, and there seemed 
nothing in it to explain why the crowd of natives should have fled 
screaming to their canoes and to the swamps. It appears, however, 
that this hut was " Ngadsi," and no one but the most sanctified priests 
ought to have been allowed to enter it. 

The Lutheran missionaries at Ngao say that this order is the only 
real governmental power in the Pokomo, so that they do not care to 
destroy faith in it. The elders, however, certainly greatly abuse their 
trust. The people are compelled to place contributions of food in 


" Ngadsi " for the " Old Man of the Woods," who is supposed to come 
at night and fetch them. In this way the priests live in plenty, even 
during periods of famine. They are certainly conscious impostors, 
for by means of a peculiarly-shaped drum, which is beaten and blown 
at the same time, they make a noise described as louder than the roar 
of a lion. This they say is the voice of the Old Man of the Woods. 

Bird Thompson told me that the Wa-pokomo have a certain idea 
of immortality. One evening, as he was chatting with his canoemen 
round the camp fire, he asked them respecting one of their number 
who had been killed during the day by a crocodile. The men said 
that their dead comrade knew that they were sitting round the fire 
and were thinking of him. Their ideas of the future life, however, 
were very hazy ; they said their friend was very uncomfortable, and 
that the present life is better than the next. 

The Wa-pokomo are fond of singing, and have many songs which 
are a mixture of Arabic, Galla, Ki-suahili, Ki-pokomo, and Ki-boni.^ 
They have also a number of sacred songs, called the songs of Gadsi, 
which are, however, kept strictly secret. 

As regards social government, the Pokomo system is patriarchal. 
Mkururu, my old friend at Ngatana, claimed to be the chief of the 
Lower Tana Wa-pokomo, and said there were three other men of 
equal power farther up the river. He seems, however, to exercise no 
authority except in the villages of his immediate neighbourhood ; and 
even in these it is very restricted. A village consists usually of about 
five families, each of which has a headman. These with the Wa- 
ga?7gana, or "medicine men," form the members of Ngadsi and rule 
the village. At Ngao, which is a large settlement, there are nine 
families, including loo men, and a larger number of women; but in 
this case there are only four elders. 

The knowledge of arts among the Wa-pokomo is rudimentary. 
The dress consists only of a narrow cotton loin-cloth in the case of 
men, and a short petticoat, made of several flounces, for the women. The 
principal ornaments used are articles made of brass wire and neck 
laces of large white beads. A man who has killed a crocodile wears 
for some days afterwards a long strip of the skin. To supplement 
their limited clothing, and to protect themselves against the cold and 
wet, the natives rub their bodies with castor-oil ; while they often stain 
themselves bright red by mixing ochre with the oil. The hair is 
thick, and dressed with mutton fat and castor-oil into curls about three 
inches long, which hang round the head like the ends of a mop. 

The principal food of this tribe consists of the banana, plantain, 
beans, cassava, pumpkin, sugar-cane, and maize. The castor -oil 
plant and tobacco are also extensively cultivated, but the latter is 
used only as snuff. The people have few manufactures. Their iron 

^ A collection of these songs has been issued by Wiirtz (" Lieder der Pokomo," Zcit. 
afrik. ocean. Sprach. Bd. I. Ht. 4) as these pages pass through the press. 


spear-heads, hoes, and knives they buy from the coast. The principal 
industrial achievement is the carving of their maus or canoes. These 
are made of the wood of the sycamore,^ a tree known to the natives 
as the mkuyii. The canoes are keelless, and are simply made by 
burning and digging out straight portions of tree trunks. 

From the figs of the sycamore the natives make an intoxicating 
beer, of which they are very fond. At the season when the fruit is 
ripe, all the inhabitants of a village are sometimes found in a state 
of drunken stupor. 

The Wa-pokomo suffer severely from skin diseases. One, which 
the Suahili call leprosy - {iikoiiia), is very prevalent. I once went for 
some hours down the Tana in a canoe with eight natives, five of whom 
were disfigured by this malady. The Somali who ought to have gone 
with me refused to enter the canoe, as they said the natives were 
unclean, and we should catch the disease. 

The Wa-pokomo are fond of dancing and singing, but do not play 
at the more elaborate games popular on the coast. The children 
amuse themselves with " seki," which consists of knocking over two 
opposite rows of grass stalks, by spinning a teetotum made of a 
piece of gourd rind fastened on a wooden peg. In a game I watched 
at Ngao, supposed to be a fight between Galla and Pokomo, the 
four grass stalks on each side represented the chief, a headman, 
an ox, and much cattle. The children were surrounded by a circle 
of adults, who cheered every success of the Pokomo champion, and 
failure of that of the Galla. 

As to the affinities of the Wa-pokomo, there can be no doubt 
that the tribe is a branch of the Wa-nyika, which occurs along 
the coast opposite Mombasa. The Wa-pokomo now occur in a 
narrow belt on each side of the Tana from Kidori (i° S.) to within 
ten miles of the sea at Charra (2° 30' S.) No doubt at one time 
they occurred to the mouth of the Tana, and extended for some 
distance along the coast in either direction. One colony of them 
still lives in two or three villages at Wasagu, on the island of Pemba ; 
while a creek named Pokomoni at the back of the island of Manda 
indicates their former extension to the north. 

3. The Wa-kainba 

The study of the Suahili and the Wa-pokomo is subject to the 
disadvantage that neither tribe has been allowed to develop naturally 
along its own lines. The Suahili have been affected, both physically 
and intellectually, by external influences ; the Pokomo spirit has been 

^ This is the true sycamore [Fic7is Sycomorus, Linn.), not the maple, to which the 
name is given in England. 

- Most of the people in the coast towns who are said to be lepers are only suffering 
from leucodermia. True leprosy, however, also occurs. 


crushed by centuries of oppression. The tribe of the Wa-kamba is 
therefore of interest, as it illustrates a third type of Bantu character, 
for it has kept comparatively free from foreign blood, and has been 
sufficiently powerful to maintain its independence. 

The tribe is reported to have entered British East Africa from the 
south. Stanley has referred to the existence of a district named 
U-kamba to the east of Tanganyika, and this is possibly a former home 
of the tribe. ^ At present it occupies a somewhat pear-shaped tract of 
country in British East Africa, including the basins of the Athi and the 
Tiva, and a small strip of country in that of the Tana. Much of this 
area is uninhabited, and the Wa-kamba are mainly grouped in three 
districts — Kikumbuliyu on the south, the Iveti Mountains on the 
north-west, and Mumoni and Kitui on the north-east. The population 
of Kikumbuliyu is very limited in number ; the late Dr. Charters of 
Kibwezi estimated that the inhabitants of the district around that station 
only numbered about 600 ; and the two other divisions of Kikumbuliyu 
(namely Masongaleni or Kikumbuliyu Chakati, and Kikumbuliyu 
Mwesho) probably do not together contain more than twice as many. 
The district of Mumoni and Kitui is larger in area, but the population 
is reported to be sparse, and at present the Iveti Mountains form the 
main home of the tribe. This section has been carefully studied by 
Mr. Ainsworth, to whom I am indebted for most of the following 

The Wa-kamba of the Iveti Mountains are the most powerful and 
warlike of the British East African Bantu. But in spite of their 
courage and strength, they are not able to keep their country to 
themselves. A generation or more ago a colony of the Kikuyu 
succeeded in establishing itself in the very heart of the Iveti Mountains 
at Kilungu, and the site of the station of Machakos was occupied by 
Masai. There are men still living who took part in the struggle which 
expelled the latter from the district. The Wa-kamba surrounded the 
Masai kraals by night, and stormed them at daybreak. The Masai 
rallied on the banks of a stream, and there a battle raged all day. 
Two thousand of the Wa-kamba were slain, including the brother of 
the present chief Nzibu, who fell after performing prodigies of valour, 
which the natives still remember with pride. Enraged by his death, 
the Wa - kamba warriors made a final charge ; the ranks of the 
defenders were broken, and a massacre of men, women, and children 
cleared Machakos of Masai. 

The Wa-kamba, however, still dare not cultivate the open meadows 
that are exposed to attack. The shambas occur only on the hills that 
form an amphitheatre around Machakos, and the fertile meadows on 
its floor lay fallow until the British East Africa Company built a 
station and planted a garden there ; for though the jNIasai have made 
no attempt to re-establish themselves in the district, they continually 

1 Hmi) I found Livingstone (cd. 1890), pp. 275-276. 


send raiding parties to attack it. Two months after I had passed 
through Nzaoi on the journey into the interior, a large force of El-Moran 
dashed into the valley and obtained a rich booty in cattle, and in the 
following year (1894) a Masai party attacked the British fort; so that 
it is still hopeless for the Wa-kamba to attempt to use the rich plains 
upon their frontier. 

If they could do this, the population would no doubt materially 
increase. Mr. Ainsworth estimates that of the Iveti Mountain district 
(i.e. the rectangular area between Nzaoi, Kavaluki, Machakos, and 
Maka) at about one million, giving an average of only 150 to the 
square mile. This is more than the average for Africa, which is 
estimated by Ravenstein ^ at 1 2 to the square mile, but it is far less 
than the country could support. 

The political system of the Wa-kamba is based on the family. 
The people live in kraals or villages, each of which contains, as a rule, 
about fifty inhabitants, and is ruled over by an elder or niwanto mere. 
Each kraal contains practically a single family, and several are grouped 
together under a chief. Some of the chiefs have only two or three 
kraals, but others have more. Nzibu, for example, who is the Mwanto 
Mineni, or big chief, of the Machakos district, is lord over fifty. 

Each kraal has its own plantations, the boundaries of which are 
marked by hedges, banks, ditches, or occasional heaps of stone. 
The ditches also act as irrigation channels, which are especially 
necessary for the fields of sugar-cane. The whole of the produce 
is the property of the kraal, and each member has a share of food 
served out from the common stock. The surplus supplies are sold, 
and the goods received in exchange belong to the kraal. There is 
apparently no definite ownership of private property, except clothes 
and weapons. The industrial system is therefore socialistic rather 
than patriarchal. The family is certainly the unit, but the head 
of the family has less absolute power than in typical patriarchal 

Order is kept in the tribe by the enforcement of a kind of common 
law, the unwritten rules of which are applied by a jury of elders. In 
trials for crime, precedent is rigidly followed. Capital punishment is 
apparently only inflicted for a second act of rape. The accused is 
tried by a jury of his fellows, before a judicial committee of elders. 
The latter sit on their stools in a group; the warriors or mwaniki 
stand round in a circle. The accused is confronted with his accuser, 
and is allowed to make any defence he can. If the crime is proved, 
the elders ask the imvaniki if the sin is bad, and they reply "Very." 
The elders then ask if the man deserves punishment. " He does," 
say the ?nwafiiki, and the elders tell the warriors to flog him, an order 
which is carried out until some of the criminal's bones are broken. 
For a second offence, the man's throat is cut. 

^ In J. S. Keltic's Partition of Africa, 2nd ed. 1895, P- S^i- 


At present the Wa-kamba are an agricultural race, though they 
keep as many cattle as they dare. They are, moreover, fairly expert 
huntsmen, and kill the hippopotamus in the Thika-thika and the Athi, 
and the rhinoceros on the Kapte plains. Their staple food is grain, 
such as dhurra, wimbe, maize, and millet {^Panicum italicum), and also 
beans, bananas, and pumpkins. They grow tobacco, which they use 
as snuff, though a few of the people have learnt to smoke. They 
possess a few iron hoes, but most of the agricultural work is done 
with wooden implements ; the ground is first dug up by young men 
with hard pointed poles ; the women then break the clods with curved 
sticks, while the children gather the grass and weeds into heaps. 

Other arts are more advanced, especially metal-working. This is 
done by special smiths or fundi. The iron ore is collected from the 
beds of streams, and smelted by charcoal in small forges of the 
" Catalan type." The iron is then wrought into swords, spears, arrow- 
heads, and knives. There is, therefore, little demand for iron wire, 
which is the main source of iron to such tribes as the Kikuyu and the 
helot races subject to the Masai. Working in brass is more advanced 
than in iron, though the raw material is obtained as wire from the 
coast. This is heated and hammered out by an iron mallet on a 
stone or iron anvil. Many of the brass ornaments are pretty and 
elaborate. A small circle is frequently worn in the middle of the 
forehead, or let into the centre of a stool. Rings are made by 
twisting brass wire round a core of either brass or iron. The aprons 
of the married women are generally covered with large brass beads, 
which are made by the native smiths. The husband gives the smith 
the necessary amount of brass wire and a goat as payment for the 
work ; the wire is cut up into short lengths, hammered into thin oblong 
strips, which are bent into cylindrical tube-like beads. Earrings of 
many different designs are worn, but brass rings are the commonest. 
Lip and hair ornaments are not in fashion, but the hair is greased and 

Clothes consist either of cotton cloth obtained by purchase, or of 
leather aprons made from roughly tanned skins. The men, however, 
often wear only a flap of skin over the shoulders, in order to protect 
the lungs. The clothes are frequently stained with red and white 
earths. The body is generally kept rubbed with oil and decorated 
with streaks of paint ; the commonest design is a white band, stretching 
across the face from ear to ear, and surrounding the eyes. The upper 
incisor teeth of boys are filed into pointed fangs at the time of 
circumcision, which is performed at the age of about seven or eight. 

Pottery for cooking purposes is made from coarse clay, and 
baskets of plaited glass are used for many domestic purposes. String 
is usually made from the fibres of the leaves of the aloe and the 
Sanseviera ; a superior quality, of exquisite finish, which is used for 
binding arrows, is made of plaited zebra hair. 


The Wa-kamba are very keen business people, and not only enjoy 
bargaining with passing caravans, but themselves conduct expeditions 
to the coast. They carry down grain, tobacco, ivory, and gum, and 
drive with them herds of cattle, goats, and sheep. These native 
caravans go to Melindi or Mombasa, where they exchange their goods 
for beads, brass, and cloth. During this trade they have acquired a 
good many customs and ideas from the Suahili. Thus they use the 
" mkono " or hand, i.e. the length from the elbow to the finger-tip, 
as their unit of measurement. They count up to ten, but always 
use the graphic symbols at the same time ; thus the numbers from 
one to five are counted on the fingers of one hand, the figures from 
six to ten are shown by clasping the extra number of fingers in the 
other hand. 

The language of the tribe, or Ki-kamba, is very imperfectly known. 
A dictionary by Krapf ^ was issued by the Church Missionary Society, 
from information supplied by a native at Mombasa. This man 
first gave Krapf a Ki-taita vocabulary, and was then urged to continue 
with Ki-kamba. He appears to have supplied one out of his imagina- 
tion. Mr. Ainsworth can get no recognition of the words from the 
natives of his district, and he points out that many of them have a 
suspicious resemblance to Ki-taita. The language is Bantu, and the 
following comparative list of geographical terms (generally among the 
most primitive words in a language) show that Ki-kamba is very 
different from Ki-suahili, Masai, and Kikuyu : — ■ 
























Spring . 




luyi lunini 


Plateau . 




In some respects the language is rich, as shown by the following 
list of names of the different stages of man, supplied me by Mr. 
Ainsworth : — 


Mwant' o' theli. 


Mwanto mere. 



Mwintu maka or kibeti. 



Middle-aged man. 



Fashionable young lady who has had no children. 

Woman who has had one child. 

Elderly woman who has had more than one child. 

The religion of the Wa-kamba is primitive and indefinite. They 
have a certain hazy notion of a god, whom, like the Masai and 
Kikuyu, they call Ngai ; but they know little about him, and very 
seldom invoke his aid. If they want rain they place offerings of 

^ Compai-ative Vocabulary of East African Languages, 1850. 


banana, grain, and beer under trees ; but that is apparently their only 
religious rite. Circumcision is practised, but possibly only for sanitary 
reasons.^ The natives possess charms, but no idols. They do not 
protect their fields by the elaborate fetiches used by the Wa-nyika and 
Wa-giriama of the coast. Nor do they, in dealing with strangers, 
insist on the complicated religious observances practised by the 

They appear to have some idea of immortality, though I could learn 
nothing at all definite upon this subject. The dead bodies of chiefs 
are not thrown to the hyenas as with the Masai, but they are carefully 
buried. A householder is always buried under his hut, and his wife 
in front of the door, after which the hut is abandoned. The bodies 
of less important members of the tribe are simply thrown to the 

The Wa-kamba make very plucky soldiers. Armed only with 
inferior spears, and trusting mainly to bows and poisoned arrows, they 
hold their mountain fastnesses against the Masai and Somali, of whom 
the latter are beginning to press them from the north. The Wa-kamba 
themselves at times undertake raids upon their inveterate foes, the 
Masai and Kikuyu, and also upon the inoffensive and defenceless 
Wa-pokomo of the Tana. But as a rule they are peaceful law-abiding 
people, who prefer cultivation and trade to war and pillage. If only 
granted adequate protection they will no doubt steadily increase in 
numbers and wealth, furnish an inexhaustible supply of cheap food 
and efficient labour, and become one of the most important agents 
in the development of the eastern portion of our East African 

{b) The Negroid Races 

I. The Kikuyu 

The Kikuyu occupy a narrow belt of hilly forest country extendino- 
from the southern slopes of Kenya, south-westward to the edge of the 
Rift Valley at the hill of Ngongo Bagas. They thus serve as a buffer 
state between the Wa-kamba and the Masai of the district of Naivasha. 
They are usually regarded as normal Bantu ; Stuhlmann,'' for example, 
places them with the Wa-kamba and the Wa-taita in the " Younger 
Bantu " group. They appear to me, however, to be more nearly 
related to the Masai, and to be a race containing both Bantu and 

^ It should be noticed that this is entire and not performed as in the Masai and 
Kikuyu. As the natives have continually to ford streams and wade through swamps 
abounding in the larva of Dilliarzia hcetnaUiria, the rite no doubt lessens the dancrer of 
incurring hasmaturia. 

^ The Wa-taita, Wa-daicho, Wa-nyika, Wa-giriania, and their allies, are the principal 
remaining groups of Bantu in Eastern British East Africa. Respecting these I have 
nothing material to add to previous descriptions. 

' F. Stuhlmann, Mit Einin Pasha, p. 848. 


Hamitic elements. They are therefore here included among the 
Negroid races. 

Von Hohnel ^ has given such an admirable account of this tribe that 
I do not propose to describe them in detail, but only refer to the 
points that serve to indicate the infusion of Nilotic blood. 

Their physical features are in many ways intermediate between the 
Masai and Bantu ; the chin, for example, is less prognathic than in the 
latter. In their mode of life they more resemble the Bantu, as they 
are mainly agriculturists. They have some food plants, which are 
not possessed by the ordinary Bantu tribes, and which they cannot 
apparently have acquired from these. Thus they grow a millet which 
Schweinfurth identifies as Panicum italicum, L., and which he thinks 
must have been introduced from India before the time of Mohammed. 
It is true that the Wa-kamba now also cultivate it, but it is possible 
that they obtained it from their Kikuyu neighbours. 

In their arms and equipments they resemble the Masai more than 
the Wa-kamba. In fighting they trust more to the spear and shield than 
to the bow and poisoned arrow, though these are used by the natives 
of the southern part of their country, who have much intercourse with 
the Wa-kamba. Kikuyu spears differ in shape from those of the Masai, 
for they are ovate rather than linear-lanceolate ; they agree in this, how- 
ever, with the Njempsians, who are certainly Nilotic Hamites and not 
Bantu. Their shields, swords, and trinkets are almost the same as 
those of the Masai. They dress in the same manner, the women 
being clad in roughly-tanned skins, and the men wearing flaps of 
leather over the shoulder, or hanging like a tail behind. The 
method of circumcision — a point of great systematic importance 
among these tribes — is the same as that of the Masai.- 

Another point by which they differ from most of the inland Bantu 
tribes in East Africa, and resemble the Negroid and Soudanese races 
of the west coast, is that they have an elaborate series of religious 
rites, to which they attach considerable importance, and the obliga- 
tions of which they scrupulously fulfil. Some of these are described 
in Chap. XL (pp. 189-194). 

The Kikuyu language is very little known. It is certainly not 
Bantu, and is allied to Masai. The list of geographical terms on 
page 350 shows how different the language is from either Masai or 

The temperament of the people, with their excitable, irritable 
ways — their thievish propensities, their hostility to strangers, and their 

1 Zum Rudolf-See, pp. 386-395. 

2 It has been described in a Latin footnote by H. H. Johnston, The Kilima-Njaro 
Expedition (1886), pp. 412-413. 

^ Von Hohnel quotes one of the elders as addressing his comrades as Wa-kekoyo. 
The Wa- is generally a Bantu prefix, but is also Hamitic. In this case it may have 
been attributed to the language by a misunderstanding, or been adopted from Suahili 


loyal devotion to pledges when ratified by blood-brotherhood — all 
remind one of the Masai rather than of the Bantu tribes, such as the 
Wa-kamba and Wa-pokomo. The more complex social organisation, 
the higher authority of the chiefs and elders, and the very inferior 
position of women in the tribe, are further points in which the Kikuyu 
differ from the Bantu of this part of Africa. 

2. The Masai 

One of the minor difficulties that beset the traveller in Tropical 
Africa is the frequency of a sudden passage from one tribe to another, 
whose language belongs to an altogether different race group. In a 
limited tract of country there may be several tribes, whose languages 
are all more different from one another than are the extreme forms of 
those included in the Aryan group. This difiticulty is greatest among 
the tribes of the Fulah group of the Western Soudan ; but it also 
occurs in British East Africa, for this region is crossed by the line of 
division between the Bantu and Hamitic races. A single day's march 
is in places sufficient to carry a traveller from Bantu people to the 
kraals of the Nilotic-speaking Masai. Pronominal inflections, concord 
and agglutination, are all left behind, and the traveller has to carry on 
his intercourse with the natives in a language more different from the 
last he used than English is from Sanskrit. 

The fact that after traversing the Masai country one can as 
suddenly jump back into Bantu tribes, suggests that the Masai are 
intruders. There is no doubt that this is the case. The Masai have 
entered the country by force, and they are enabled to stay there only 
by continual theft. The whole of their elaborate social and military 
system, which has been graphically described by Joseph Thomson in 
Through Masai Land, is based on the necessity for constant war raids. 
The Masai do not till the soil, and they live solely on meat and milk. 
As they do not breed sufificient cattle to supply the demand, they are 
bound to replenish their herds by seizing those of their weaker 

The men in this tribe do no regular work, but simply specialise in 
the art of cattle lifting. The women do all the hard work of the kraals, 
and carry the household goods from place to place during the migra- 
tions rendered necessary by the exhaustion of pasturage ; boys herd 
the cattle, and members of helot tribes make the spears and chain 
ornaments. The young men, or El-Moran, simply learn how to dance, 
brag, and bluster when at home, and to conduct raids upon more 
peaceful tribes. 

The Masai have been described so often that there is no need 
here to give any account of them. Reference need only be given to 
the careful observations of G. A. Fischer,^ the graphic sketch of 

' Mltth. Geog. Ges., Hamburg, 1882-83 (1884), pp. 60-74, 224-236, PI. iv. -vi. 

2 A 


Mr. Joseph Thomson/ and the discussion of the affinities of the 
language by Mr. H. H. Johnston.^ 

There is now no doubt that they are a mongrel race between the 
Nilotic group of Hamites and the Negroes. Their social organisation 
and language is Nilotic, but their physical characters indicate a con- 
siderable intermixture of Negro blood. It has been suggested that the 
Masai ought to be included among the Hamites ; but, as in that case 
the Njempsians and the Kikuyu would have also to be transferred, it 
seems best to leave them all in the intermediate Negroid group. 

3. The Njempsians ( Wa-kwafi) 

Hopes are held out by some travellers who have had experience of 
the Masai, that they may be induced to cease from raiding, to take 
service as a native police, and thus help to civilise the regions to which 
they are now nothing but a curse. It is not impossible that by firm 
and judicious administration this may be done. Mr. Hall, the present 
superintendent of Fort Smith, has engaged a force of Masai, which 
has settled beside the fort and helps him to keep the Kikuyu in 
order. That the Masai may change their habits is also thought 
possible from the present condition of the people known as Wa-kwafi, 
who are generally regarded as a section of this tribe. 

Joseph Thomson ^ tells us that they are " unquestionably Masai in 
race, and only separated from that tribe through the loss of their cattle, 
and the consequent necessity of breaking their cherished convictions by 
cultivating the soil." According to this, which is the popularly accepted 
theory, the Wa-kwafi, only some five and twenty years ago, were a 
powerful clan of Masai, which lived in Laikipia. Then there is said 
to have been a war between them and the other Masai, in which the 
Wa-kwafi were defeated, deprived of tlieir cattle and pasturage, and 
expelled from Laikipia. They are said to have then settled at Njemps, 
and adopted an agricultural mode of life. 

There seems to be no doubt that in some places, as in the KiUma- 
Njaro district, Masai have accepted such a change of life; and where they 
have done so they are called Wa-kwafi. It is probable, however, that 
this name is applied by the Suahili to several distinct races in the Masai 
district, which till the soil and speak languages allied to Masai. In 
that case the term, like Wa-shenzi and Wa-nderobbo, has no scientific 
ethnographical value. Krapf, moreover, used the term as a synonym 
of Masai. The only so-called "Wa-kwafi" I met were those at 
Njemps, and to them I propose to refer as Njempsians, which leaves 
their relation to the other "Wa-kwafi " an open question. 

It is quite possible that the story of the origin of the Njempsians 

1 Through Masai Land, chap. x. 

- The Kilima-Njaro Expedition, pp. 446-477, 501-520. 

2 Through Masai Land, 4th ed. , p. 450. 


contains an element of truth, for their ancestors may have been 
pastoral nomads. But it seems quite clear that this change has not 
happened vyithin so recent a period as is supposed. The people now 
differ from the Masai in physique, character, habits, and language. 

Every traveller who has visited Njemps and recorded his experi- 
ences of the people, bears testimony to their friendliness, and frank, 
open-hearted ways. Thomson truly tells us that they are " singularly 
honest and reliable," and again, that they are " most pleasing natives," 
characterised by "their honesty, their unassuming ways, and their 
charming, unsophisticated manners." He further describes the people 
as physically unlike the Masai ; he says they are degenerate, and that 
" this was especially noticeable among the women, who had lost their 
slender, genteel shape, and acquired the ill- proportioned, unwieldy 
contour of the negress."^ The Njempsians are certainly taller and 
slimmer than the robust, well-built Masai. Their jaws are more prog- 
nathic, and the people are far less intelligent. They have a few 
religious prejudices, such as refusing to eat zebra, or to allow any part 
of this animal inside their villages, while the seeds of their crops are 
in the ground ; but they are less particular than the Masai, for they 
eat fish and even rats. 

Their dialect is also so different from Masai that some of my 
men, who knew the latter fairly well, were quite unable to understand 
the people of Njemps. If, therefore, the popular theory be true, then 
the Njempsians have changed alike their physique, character, habits, 
social organisation, and rehgion, in the course of about twenty or 
twenty-five years. A similar view was once held as to the origin of the 
Bushmen, who were said to be only Hottentots who had become 
degenerate owing to the theft of all their cattle by the Boers.- But 
the idea that such fundamental changes can take place so rapidly has 
long since been discredited. 

Fortunately, however, in the case of the Njempsians we are not 
left to rely only on general probabilities, as historical evidence is 
available. In a memoir by Leon des Avanchers in 1859,^ the 
Wa-kwafi are said to live around Lake El-Boo or Baro (Baringo), 
on the very site of their present home. This map records only the 
leading facts in the geography of the interior, as reported on the east 
coast by the Suahili traders', it is, therefore, not likely that the settle- 
ment of the Njempsians in the Baringo basin was then a recent event. 
It is more probable that they preceded the Masai instead of being 
descended from them, for, as Thomson's descriptions show, they have 
been more influenced by intermixture with Bantu. They have probably 
only been allowed to retain their present home, because its swampy 

^ Op. cit. p. 450. 

^ W. H. I. Bleek, "Scientific Reasons for the Study of the Bushman Language," 
Cape Monthly Magaz. new ser. vol. vii. (1873), p. 149. 

* L^on des Avanchers, ' ' Esquisse g^ographique des pays Oromo ou Galla," Bull. Soc. 
Gdog. Paris, s^r. 4, t. .xvii. (1859), map, and p. 164. 


jungles, rank grass, and scrub -covered plains are of no use to a 
pastoral people. When, therefore, the Masai invaded the country, 
they swept southward past Njemps, to the rich grazing lands around 
Naivasha and on Laikipia. 

Fig. 21.— The Head of a Galla. 
(After Paulitschke. ) 

Section D. — The Hamitic Races 

(a) The Galla 

By some authorities the Masai are included in the Hamitic group, 
but we have only to compare the features of a member of this 
tribe with those of a Galla (Fig. 21) to realise the predominance of 
the negro element in the former. The aspect of the pure Hamite 
differs altogether from those of the Bantu and Negroid races. The 

accompanying portrait of a 
Galla presents no correspond- 
ence with the conception 
usually formed of an African 
native. The forehead is high 
and square instead of low and 
receding ; the nose is narrow, 
with the nostrils straight and 
not transverse ; the chin is 
small and slightly pointed in- 
stead of massive and protrud- 
ing ; the hair is long and not 
woolly ; the lips are thinner than those of the negro and not everted ; 
the expression is intellectual, and indicates a type of mind higher than 
that of the simple negro. Indeed, except for the colour, it could 
hardly be distinguished from the face of a European. These charac- 
teristics prepare us for the fact that the Galla are not African, but 
immigrants from Asia. This was impressed on me at the outset by 
their folklore, some of which had been collected by Bird Thompson. 
He told me the Galla story of the creation of the first man, whose 
name was Zadami — obviously a variant of Adam, so that apparently 
they still remember some of the primitive traditions of Western Asia. 
The history of the tribe is referred to in the following chapter, and it 
is unnecessary to describe the people, for this has recently been done 
in an elaborate monograph by Paulitschke.^ 

^ Ph. Paulitschke, Die Ethnographic des nord-ost Afrikas, Wien, 1893. Some 
remarks in New's Life, etc., in East Africa, p. 274, suggest that the Galla have a 
certain belief in Totemism. It does not seem necessary to refer to the earlier theories 
in regard to the Galla. The first were stated by C. T. Beke, ' ' On the Origin of the 
Gallas," Rep. Brit. Assoc. 1847 (1848), pp. 113-118. Speke regarded the Wa-huma 
settlers in Uganda as Galla, whereas Emin (quoted by Jephson, With Emin Pasha in 
Central Africa, 1890, p. 63) thought the Galla the descendants of the Wa-huma. 


(ToBE AND Sandals, and armed with Spear and Sword.) 

CHAP, xvir THE SOMALI 357 

{V) The Somali 

I had little personal intercourse with the Galla, but I often saw 
more than was pleasant of their close allies, the Somali. This tribe 
also is of Asiatic origin. It claims descent from a certain Sherif 
Ishak (Isaac) bin Ahmed who crossed from the south of Arabia about 
500 years ago, and died at Mait, near Burnt Island, where his tomb 
is still shown. ^ Some writers accept this tradition literally ; but 
others, such as Miles,- regard Sherif Ishak as the leader of the 
last of a long series of migrations. Paulitschke quotes the Arabian 
historian, Ibn Said, to the effect that in the thirteenth century the 
Hawija were settled in fifty villages on the east coast around Merka. 
This was earlier than the time of Sherif Ishak, and the settlement was 
apparently even then of considerable age. 

It has also been stated by no less an authority than Burton that the 
Somali race has absorbed a good deal of African blood, and are half- 
caste. The head, he says, " belongs equally to Africa and Arabia." ^ 
There is, however, no trace of Negro influence in the language,'* and 
very little in the physical structure of the race. Burton does not, how- 
ever, appear to have based his sketch on typical Somali ; and parts of 
it read like a caricature, though showing, as usual, his remarkably keen 
insight into character. He describes them ^ as having " all the levity 
and instability of the Negro character ; light-minded as the Abyssinians, 
— described by Gobat as constant in nothing but inconstancy, — soft, 
merry, and affectionate souls, they pass without any apparent transition 
into a state of fury, when they are capable of terrible atrocities." In 
this, perhaps, Burton was less unjust than he sometimes was. The 
behaviour of some of the Somah during the expedition to the Tana 
would have justified his severest judgments. Most of the men we had 
were passionate, lazy, and impudent, and some of them, despite the 
high reputation of the Somali for courage, proved to be contemptible 
cowards. Our experience was not exceptional, for all the officers of 
the British East Africa Company who had had men of this tribe in 
their caravans, disliked them exceedingly. Major Williams told me 
that the timidity of one of his Somali gun-bearers excited the ridicule 
of the Zanzibar!, who are usually themselves accused of cowardice. 
Our trouble with the men was possibly due to the fact that they were 
all Aden Somali, who may have been corrupted by contact with 
civilisation, for travellers in Somaliland who have employed the natives 
are often enthusiastic in their praise. During the Tana Expedition 
we certainly saw Somali under unfavourable circumstances ; they were 

^ F. M. Hunter, Grammar of the Somali Language {\^Zo), p. xiv. 
- S. B. Miles, " On the Neighbourhood of Bunder Marayah," Journ. Roy. Geog. Sac. 
vol. xlii. (1872), p. 68. 

^ R. F. Burton, First Footsteps in East Africa (1856), p. 107. 

* See, e.g., A. W. Schleicher, Die Somali-Sprache, th. i. (Berlin 1892), pp. vii.-xiii. 

^ Burton, op. cit. p. 109. 


taken to a district very different in climate from their own, where 
malaria sapped their strength, and mosquitoes soured their tempers. 

The men's fanatical devotion to their religion — a corrupt form of 
Islam — increased the difficulty of handling them. A favourite observ- 
ance was a weird dervish dance around a fire, which would last until 
several of the men had thrown themselves into the flames in a fit of frenzy, 
or fallen into them in a trance. These dances had to be suppressed as 
they were injurious to the health of the men, but for this a subterfuge 
was necessary ; they could not be directly prohibited, as they were said 
to be an essential part of the men's religion, and it had been guaranteed 
that this should not be interfered with. The fidelity of the men to 
their creed was extraordinary. At first we thought one half of this was 
affectation and the other half fraud. The men would not carry a 
bottle of whisky from one part of the camp to another, though they 
had to lift cases which were full of it ; they would continually leave 
their work to pray, and seemed to accumulate arrears of prayer and 
pay them off whenever an unpleasant task had to be done. But when at 
Ngatana some of them died rather than take food which would have 
saved them, because it had not been killed according to Mohammedan 
rites, we were bound to respect, as well as to regret, their sturdy adhesion 
to their faith. 

The headman Wasama was also the priest of the Somali. His 
chant was the music which marked time at the dervish dances, and his 
the exhortations that roused the dancers to their wildest fury. At sun- 
rise and sunset he stood on his praying-mat in front of the line of 
Somali, and led their devotions. But Wasama would never have pre- 
ferred death to defilement ; when I mixed brandy with medicine for 
the sick men, he would give them the dose and swear that the 
" dowo " contained nothing unholy. He had been for some years an 
interpreter on a man-of-war, and there he had learnt not only 
" fo'castle English," but also the differences between an esoteric and an 
exoteric faith. He preached the one, but was always ready to practise 
the other, and his sermons were delivered in language of appalling 
profanity. I remember once appeahng to him when a Somali tried to 
shirk some work on the excuse that he was bound to go and pray. 
Wasama expounded the orthodox Mohammedan rules for prayer in 
language that would have scandalised Billingsgate. Often, when at his 
devotions in one corner of the camp, his keen eye would detect a man 
doing something that he ought not to do ; Wasama would at once leap 
from his mat and hurl at the culprit a volley of blood-curdling oaths, 
and then drop on to his mat again to conclude the interrupted prayer. 
But in spite of his language, Wasama was a man who did high credit 
to the Somali race. He was kind-hearted, devoted, energetic, courageous, 
intelligent, and skilful. He and a few others like him did their best 
to redeem the character of the rest. Wasama's brother-in-law, the 
famous Dualla Idris (PI. XX.), is a Somali of the same type; by his services 

No. XX. 

Aja Achmct Wasaiiia. Uualla Kills. 

TWO .SOMALI HEAD.MEN. /'«^tf 358. 


in Stanley's first descent of the Congo, and subsequently as headman 
during the James Expedition into Somaliland, Teleki's march to Basso 
Narok, Stanley's Emin Pasha Relief Expedition, and Lugard's adminis- 
tration in Uganda, he has done inestimable service in the cause of 
African exploration. Men such as Wasama and Dualla show that the 
Somali character is capable of great development ; and it was impossible 
to compare even the roughest of our unruly crew with the Zanzibari 
or Pokomo, without feeling that the race has great capabilities. At 
first sight the people seem to be truly African in their levity, passion, 
and fitfulness ; but scratch the Somali and you find the Arab, with 
Arabian capacity for devotion and discipline, and latent powers of 
organisation, which promise for the race a great future in the develop- 
ment of East Africa. 

Section E. — The Semitic Races 
The Abyssinia7is 

While the Somali and the Galla represent one type of Asiatic 
invaders, the Abyssinians represent another. The two first are 
unquestionably Hamitic, while the Abyssinians in the main are Semitic. 
There are in the country several tribes representing the Hamitic races, 
which occupied Abyssinia before the invasion of the Semites : such 
are the Beja of the north, the Saho around Massowah, the Agau of 
the Central Plateau,^ and the Sidama of Kaffa in the south. ^ But 
the dominant race throughout historic times has been Semitic. Among 
the men engaged for the Lake Rudolf Expedition, however, there were 
a large proportion of Hamites, since, being mainly drawn from the 
shop-boys of Massowah, the Saho were well represented. 

True Semitic Abyssinians are probably not yet residents in British 
East Africa. The southern Abyssinians raid across the frontier into 
the British sphere of influence ; but they do not seem to have founded 
permanent settlements there, and it is probably only the Hamitic tribes 
that conduct these raids. It may therefore appear superfluous to refer 
to these Semites. But as the introduction of Abyssinian porters into 
Equatorial Africa was an interesting experiment, which cost the Lake 
Rudolf Expedition a good deal of money, it may be as well to record 
the result. 

Over eighty Abyssinians were engaged at Massowah, but unfortu- 
nately there was some misunderstanding as to the terms of their 
engagement. They maintained that they had been enlisted to go to 
Lamu and thence to India, where they were to act as escort to a native 
prince. When, therefore, they were landed on the beach at Melindi, 

^ L. Reinisch, Sitz. ber. phil. hist. CI. k. Akad. Wiss., Wien, Bd. cxxi. (1890) ; 
Abh. xii. p. 4. 

- L. Reinisch, "Die Kafa-sprache in Nordost-Afrika," ibid. Bd. cxvi. (1888), p. 68. 


given loads and told to carry them, they professed to be disappointed. 
At Witu they struck, and one or two were flogged until they con- 
sented to carry loads. No amount of flogging, however, would give 
the men the necessary personal strength. They broke down under the 
work; malaria at Ngatana found a suitable soil in their weakened 
bodies ; they died, or were so enfeebled by disease, that the whole 
contingent had to be sent back to the coast, as it was useless to insist 
on their going on. 

The costly experiment, therefore, failed absolutely ; this was prob- 
ably due to the fact that the men were badly selected, but it is very 
doubtful whether Abyssinians would ever compete with the Zanzibari in 
efficiency, and they certainly could not in economy. 

The reason for the employment of an Abyssinian contingent seems 
also to have been fallacious. It was thought that, as the expedition 
would pass near some of the so-called " sacred cities " of Somaliland, 
the priests might preach a holy war against us, and our Somali escort 
refuse to fight. Recent experience, however, seems to show that such 
a danger was imaginary. The Somali themselves are tolerant of 
Christians, though fanatical in the practice of their own creed. More- 
over, the various tribes of Somali are divided against themselves ; 
hence an escort from the coast can be relied on, both from friendship 
and interest, to make common cause \vith their European leader, instead 
of deserting him at the bidding of their compatriots. In fact, coast 
Somali would probably have no more objection to fighting inland tribes 
of their own race, than of any other, provided the risks were not 
too great and the prospects of booty good. Less, however, was known 
about the interior of Somaliland in 1892 than is known to-day; and 
the organisers of the expedition did not think it advisable to entrust 
the whole defence of the caravan to Somali. Soudanese could not 
be obtained ; Abyssinians were selected, mainly because they are 
Christians, and therefore were expected to be all the more faithful 
to us. Later on, however, we found that, as they themselves expressed 
it, they were very different Christians from ourselves ; and it is doubtful 
whether the religious bond would have counted for anything. They 
refused to eat meat we had shot, or to drink beef-tea made from 
material prepared in England. Several of them died rather than take 
such food, at a time when they were so ill that they could take no 
other. In many ways they afforded us an illustration of Buckle's con- 
tention that " in every page of history we meet with fresh evidence of 
the little effect religious doctrines can produce upon a people, unless 
preceded by intellectual culture. . . . The characteristics of the 
creed are overpowered by the characteristics of the people ; and the 
national faith is, in the most important points, altogether inoperative, 
[if] it does not harmonise with the civilisation of the country in which 
it is established." ^ 

1 H. T. Buckle, Hist. Civilis. EngUuid (ed. 1885), vol. i. pp. 261, 266. 


In fact, just as the Somali have introduced into their Mohammed- 
anism a mass of pagan practices, and the SuahiH have softened their 
originally fanatical creed into harmony with their indolent and tolerant 
natures, so the Abyssinians have degraded the religion they profess, 
until it allows the systems of polygamy and slavery to flourish un- 
checked, and permits the retention of barbarous habits and cruel rites. 



" Usunye kautsuka hiraka " 
(Slavery is not quickly eradicated). 

Ki-nyika Proverb (W. E. Taylor). 

" Slavery is not so easy to be abolished ; it will long continue, in spite of acts of 
parliament. My friends, I have come to the sad conclusion that slavery, whether 
established by law, or by law abrogated, exists very extensively in this world ; and, 
in fact, that you cannot abolish slavery by act of parliament, but can only abolish the 
name of it, which is very little." — Carlyle. 

As we have seen in the introduction to the seventeenth chapter, 
the people of East Africa are essentially a race of nomads. 
Individuals may be stationary ; settlements may be made and 
held for generations ; but slowly, irregularly, and unconsciously, 
the tribes themselves are on the move. The predominant 
migration is a flow from north to south. The ancestors of the 
Masai worked their way along the Nile valley,^ and entered 
what is now British East Africa from the north and north- 
west. The Somali have spread over the " Horn of Africa," 
and are encroaching from the north-east, parallel to the Indian 
Ocean shore. This statement of direction, however, is only 
true in a very general sense. Taken in detail the movement 
has been spasmodic and erratic, and has travelled in waves 
rather than in a direct and constant stream. Here, the back- 
wash of a broken wave has enabled a tribe to advance in 
the direction opposite to that of the main current ; there, an 
eddy has thrown another at right angles to it. Occasionally 

^ C. W. Wilson, " The Tribes of the Nile Valley," Journ. Anthrop. Instit. vol. xvii. 
(1888), pp. 3-25. 


a strong position has enabled a tribe to hold its own, as on a 
rock, while the flood has swept by it and isolated it from its 
fellows. Thus the Wa-kamba have been carried northward from 
their old home in the Ugara country, and drawn into their 
present position in the British protectorate ; while the Doko 
of Laikipia and the Wa-ruguru of Kenya have been left in 
their forest homes, surrounded by alien races. 

These national movements have in one way lessened the 
scientific value and interest of the study of the African natives ; 
for they have confused the racial characters and introduced 
great uncertainty into the relationships of the tribes. They 
compensate for this, however, by serving as a great object in 
history, as we can now watch in progress before us a series 
of national migrations, similar to those inroads of the bar- 
barians which destroyed the Roman Empire. 

The movements in the present case are of two types ; the 
Masai furnish an example of the one and the Somali of the 
other. The Masai make continual raids from their main 
kraals upon their neighbours, whom they distract and im- 
poverish. At last, the position of these victims becomes 
unendurable and they move away, leaving their oppressors free 
to roam over the deserted district. 

The Masai raids in British East Africa are made from two 
main centres — the district around Lake Naivasha, and the 
region of Nyiri and Matumbato to the north of Kilima Njaro, 
The raiding parties travel great distances, especially toward 
the east. 

It is said that they used to go right up to Mombasa and 
even send spies into the town to ascertain if caravans were 
preparing to start for the interior. In 1889 they certainly 
raided within sight of the harbour, and in 1888 they killed a 
headman of Teleki's at the Mwachi river, only a day's march 
from Mombasa. Whole tracts of the Giriama country, a few 
miles north of the British East African capital, and almost 
close to the sea, are still left uncultivated on account of their 
liability to Masai attack. The extent and frequency of the 
raids are shown in Fig. 22, in which are marked the principal 
war-paths, and the localities where the doings of this tribe 
came under my personal observation, between February and 
August 1893. South of Merifano on the Tana, Harris and I 


found the Galla driving their flocks and herds across the river 
to escape the marauders, and saw the smoke of the burning 
villages whence the natives had fled. At the Kiboko river I 
found the dead bodies of some Wa-kamba who must have been 
surprised and murdered in their sleep, as their arrows were still 
in their sheaths, and their simes in their scabbards. Two 
days' journey north of this place the road was littered with the 
debris of broken boxes captured from a caravan taking stores 
to Sir Gerald Portal's party in Uganda. Again, on the 
Kapte plains near Bondoni, during our second march south 
from Machakos, we encountered a small party of El-Moran, 
who were on their way to attack some Ki-kamba villages. 
On the plains of the Thika-thika we met some Kikuyu refugees 
from Igeti ; their country had been ravaged by the Masai 
army which we had seen enkraaled on the shores of Lake 
Naivasha, and the district, for two days' march in length by 
one in breadth, had been cleared as if by a hurricane. The 
fugitives described the sudden attack, the massacre, the de- 
vastation of the plantations, the capture of the cattle, and the 
burning of the villages. And yet, as we listened to this 
sickening story, we realised that this was merely one incident 
in a continuous series of such horrors. 

At Nzaoi, in April, on our way inland, we had seen large 
herds of cattle, while on our return at the end of July the 
valley had been devastated and the herds captured. But on 
this occasion the brave old warrior Kiketi, chief of the district 
of Maka, told us how, having heard of the raid, he had sum- 
moned his fighting men, had attacked and routed the Masai 
on the return march, and recaptured the cattle. But victories 
such as this are rare, and even old Kiketi dare not cultivate 
the fertile lava plain that stretches westward from the foot of 
the hills in which he lives. It is only from the less fertile soil 
of the mountain fastnesses that his people can hope to reap the 
crops that they have sown. Throughout British East Africa, 
to the east of the Masai wedge, one can talk to none of the 
peaceful agricultural tribes without hearing sad stories of 
Masai raids. The people tell you of the impossibility of 
cultivating exposed districts — generally the most fertile ones 
— and they complain bitterly of the uselessness of keeping 
cattle, which serve only as an incentive to Masai attack. 


It is frequently said that the disease which swept ofif most 
of their cattle has broken the Masai power, while during the 
past twelve months internal dissensions have destroyed their 
unity. The Masai, however, have suffered similar misfortunes 
and been engaged in civil war before ; but they have recovered, 
and can no doubt do so again. While actually suffering from 
starvation, the tribe was doubtless crippled. Starving men 
cannot march hundreds of miles, and then patiently wait for 
the right moment at which to attack. The Masai were greatly 
reduced in numbers by famine and by epidemics, the result of 
eating diseased meat ; but as soon as the crisis was over, the 
scarcity of food probably drove the warriors to greater activity, 
and compelled them to make more frequent raids. The 
Naivasha Masai had certainly acquired enormous herds of 
cattle by May 1893; it was too soon after the plague for 
these herds to have been bred, and the majority must have 
been captured. Lastly, the threatened attack on the powerful 
caravan of the Railway Survey in 1892, and the attack on the 
fort at Machakos in 1894, shows that their aggressive spirit 
has not been changed ; and the recent murder of Dr. Charters 
of Kibwezi and Mr. Colquhoun adds one more to the long 
list of misdeeds, which make it necessary to curb the power of 
the Masai. 

It will be noticed in the map that the proposed route for 
the Uganda Railway crosses the chief war-roads of the Masai, 
and nearly coincides with the main caravan road into the 
interior ; it thus naturally runs from one Bantu settlement to 
another, for these are the trade centres and food-producing 
regions. One of the many incidental benefits that the Uganda 
Railway will confer upon the country is that it will enable a 
small force of men to watch the roads and protect the peaceful 
agricultural tribes from the attacks of their warlike neighbours. 

In places the Masai have temporarily ceased from raiding, 
and some have even taken service with other tribes as herds- 
men. According to the commonly accepted theory, the 
Wa-kwafi were originally a tribe of Masai who have per- 
manently changed their mode of life, and have become an 
agricultural people. Some men who have lived much among 
the Masai, as for example Mr. George Wilson, have a high 
opinion of their intelligence and capacity for learning. It is 


therefore not impossible that this great tribe may acquire 
those habits of peaceful industry, which alone can save it from 
extermination. But this is not the view that is taken by most 
of the travellers who have seen much of the Masai. Proud 
and indolent, with an inherited contempt for honest work, and 
an ingrained hatred of steady exertion, it is doubtful whether 
the race will be able to accommodate itself to a settled life, or 
ever acquire the habits of discipline necessary in European 
service. Whether the Masai will be able to adapt themselves 
to altered conditions or not, it is certain that they will not do 
so until their military power has been broken. In British 
East Africa they play the part which was formerly taken by 
the Zulu and Matabili in the south, and by the Manyema on 
the Congo, a part which is still played by the Somali and 
Abyssinians farther north. Each of these held as their sacred 
vested interest the right to help themselves to the property 
of their weaker neighbours. While this claim is maintained, 
there is no hope of security or peace in the regions which they 

The southward advance of the Somali proceeds in quite a 
different manner from that of the Masai, for though they make 
raids, these have less effect than their slow, persistent en- 
croachment upon their neighbour's territory. The power of 
the Somali is of quite recent growth. In the days when 
Vasco da Gama sailed up the coast of East Africa, they had 
not reached the Juba, and the Galla lorded it over the whole 
country from Abyssinia to Mombasa. 

The Galla themselves were no doubt originally intruders 
into Africa. They appear to have crossed from Asia in the 
neighbourhood of Aden and the Straits of Babel -Mandeb. 
Thanks to their superior intelligence, and the skill with which 
they use their long broad - headed spears and round leather 
shields, they spread southward, driving the former Bantu 
inhabitants before them, and further reducing the few remnants 
of the aboriginal Negrillo race. Here and there in the Galla 
country, tribes of the older people have been allowed to survive, 
owing to their skill in managing canoes, as the Wa-pokomo, or 
in hunting, as the Walangulo or Waboni. They were, however, 
all reduced to the position of helots. But to-day the Galla 
power is broken. In the north the raids of the Abyssinians 


have destroyed their herds and crushed their spirit ; in the 
south they have been practically exterminated since 1872, when 
their foe, the chief of Kau, called in the Somali to his assist- 
ance. The united forces engaged the Galla in a great battle 
at Kau, on the Ozi, and after a fight which lasted for three days 

^W Range of Somali in tfie 16th & 17th centuries 

i Present range of Somali 

L"'-' Present range of Galla 

ElSI Nilotic tribes 

t^/^ Range of Masai and closely allied tribes 

I I (In south-west corner and in Masai area) Bantu. 

Fig. 23. 

the Galla forces were annihilated. Krapf, sent in i 8 5 8 as " a 
missionary to the Galla," found them still the dominant race in 
the Tana valley, and estimated their numbers at between six and 
eight millions. Brenner estimated the number of the southern 
Galla at 20,000; but in 1892, Mr. Edmonds, the Wesleyan 
missionary to the Galla, calculated the number in the same 
district as only 250 individuals. The first and last estimates 


may have been extreme ; but the Galla of the Tana valley now 
live only in weak isolated communities, though they still retain 
their old pride, and cherish in sullen impotence the memory 
of their former greatness. 

The Somali, who have succeeded to their position, crossed 
from Asia at a later date, and were at first confined to the 
strip of land along the eastern coast of Africa, to the south of 
Cape Guardafui. The Somali are certainly closely related to 
the Galla ; they have similar high foreheads, straight nostrils, 
thin lips, and long clinky hair. According to Somali tradi- 
tions, the two tribes were cousins ; but the Somali accepted 
light from Islam when they were offered it, while the Galla clung 
to their ancestral paganism. This is not unlikely to be the 
source of the present difference between their positions. Their 
religion has given to the Somali a power and motive force, 
which has enabled them, in spite of lack of cohesion among 
the clans, to advance southward and westward. Galla, Wadone, 
Wasaniya, Walangulo, Pokomo, have all gone down before 
their resistless march, and now only the agricultural tribes of 
the Wa-kamba and Kikuyu remain as buffer states between 
them and the Masai. Unless England intervenes these peace- 
ful tribes seem doomed, and then the Masai and the Somali, 
left face to face, will commence a fight for the mastery, which 
will turn East Africa into an even greater pandemonium than 
it is to-day. 

It is impossible to travel among the more peaceful tribes 
of East Africa and note the pathos of their lot, beneath the 
horror of the ever-threatening scourge of barbaric war, without 
feeling a keen personal interest in the people, and hoping that 
European intervention will prevent the present drama being 
played out to its bitter end. The time has passed, however, 
when one country could be expected to enter upon a purely 
disinterested crusade for the sake of another. No state would 
be justified in increasing the burdens of its people by under- 
taking the administration of a country without some hope of 
securing a return, either as an outlet for its surplus population 
or a new market for its goods. Unless British East Africa 
offers some prospect of doing one of these, the natives will be 
left to cut each other's throats without the intervention of the 
British policeman. They will be allowed to remain in poverty 

2 B 


without any attempt to improve the resources of the country 
by British administration, and to starve in periods of famine 
unfed by British charity. It is this feeHng which leads me to 
devote my last pages to the consideration of how far it would 
be right and wise for England to undertake this task. 

The first essential for English administration is a climate in 
which Englishmen can live. It must be admitted at the outset 
that the sanitary record of the country is very bad, and recent 
meteorological observations render this only too easy of ex- 
planation. The death-roll of East Africa is simply appalling. 
When I landed on the coast in November 1892 the Wesleyan 
Missionary Society had five missionaries in British East Africa ; 
when I returned to the coast in the August of the following 
year, there was but one : two had died and two had been in- 
valided home. In November 1892 there were seven English- 
men in the districts administered from Lamu and from Melindi ; 
there are only two left : two have been killed by natives 
(Mr. J. Bell Smith and Mr. Hamilton), and three have died of 
disease (Dr. Rae, Mr. W. Bird Thompson, and Mr. Edmonds). 
When I started from Mombasa in March there were twelve 
Europeans on or near the 300 miles of road between the coast 
and Fort Smith ; before I returned to the coast five months 
later, fever had killed three and sent one back as an invalid to 
Europe ; of the remaining eight the Masai have murdered one, 
and disease has carried away two more, so that only five of the 
twelve are left. Moreover, it must be remembered that even 
this fearful mortality — a rate of 23 per cent per annum — is the 
death-rate of picked men in the prime of life. 

Nevertheless, in spite of this terrible record, which has been 
impressed upon me by the fact that so many of those who have 
died were friends, I believe that the climate is better than the 
facts suggest. It is not fair to test a climate by its action upon 
men enduring the hardships of camp life. If people in England 
slept in swamps and lived on bad food ; if, when ill, they had 
no shelter but a draughty tent and had to make a daily march 
of ten miles or more across sandy plains, the death-rate would 
be more than one in twenty. To show the influence of such 
conditions on the deadliness of a disease, I may quote the ex- 
perience of a friend who had to take a caravan of 300 men from 
Uganda to the coast. A few days after leaving the last food 


centre in Kavirondo, smallpox broke out among the porters. 
Every attempt was made to isolate the invalids and check the 
spread of the disease, but in vain ; it swept through the caravan. 
The men had to make long marches every day across a high 
plateau, which is generally cold and wet. The only available 
food was beans and banana flour, and at night the men had to 
sleep in the open air. Under these conditions an attack was 
almost necessarily fatal. The men died off like flies ; the 
baggage, including a valuable collection of natural history 
specimens and sporting trophies, had to be abandoned, and 
only a mere handful of men straggled into the next station on 
the road. 

A better state of things might be expected in the per- 
manent stations ; but unfortunately for the reputation of East 
Africa, these are, as a rule, situated in unhealthy places. Most 
of the coast towns, such as Lamu and Zanzibar, are built beside 
tidal swamps, from which twice a day arise poisonous malarial 
exhalations. The inland stations are mostly in the valleys 
beside rivers and lakes, and the mission settlements seem 
especially placed in unhealthy positions. For example, there 
are three mission stations in the Tana valley, and they are each 
situated on the river bank and beside swamps. The Wesleyan 
station at Golbanti lies in the broadest tract of swamp on the 
Tana, and in the rainy season the little island on which it 
stands can only be approached by wading waist deep through 
slush and water. The temptations of a beautiful prospect, 
shady walks, and cool clear springs led to the establishment of 
the Scottish Industrial Mission at Kibwezi in the middle of a 
forest. It has in consequence proved disastrously unhealthy at 
certain seasons of the year. The only station on the Uganda 
road which is situated on open moorland, away from swamp 
and forest, is Machakos, and this has justified Lugard's choice 
by proving the most healthy station in British East Africa. 

There is plenty of ground in the country like Machakos, 
where Europeans, with proper precautions, ought to live and 
prosper. Open moorland at the height of from 4000 to 5000 
feet above the sea offers the best chances of successful European 
settlement. At higher elevations, though the air is cooler, the 
daily variation in temperature is excessive ; and these heights 
are not even free from fever, for Brehme's recent work on 


Kilima Njaro shows that it is endemic there at the height of 
over 7000 feet. 

That the whole of Equatorial Africa is to be lightly dis- 
missed as uninhabitable appears to me to be absurd. Dis- 
cussions as to whether European colonists can settle and live 
there are now purely academic. The fact has been finally 
proved by the success of Blantyre in Nyasaland, where a colony 
of Scotch planters has founded a number of coffee plantations, 
which are in a most flourishing condition. We need only refer 
to that bright little journal, the British. Central Africa Gazette, 
look through its columns of advertisements, and read the reports 
of its cricket matches and tennis parties, to realise how well the 
district must be adapted to the needs of a British settlement. 
As the colony, moreover, rests on an agricultural and not on a 
mining basis, its permanence seems assured. Granting, then, 
that with proper precautions and the exercise of greater care 
in the selection of sites for stations, Europeans can live in 
Equatorial Africa, the question remains whether there will be 
sufficient temptation to them to do so in large numbers. 

The answer to this depends in the first place on the possible 
resources of the country, and in the second on the existence of 
an adequate supply of native labour. In discussing this sub- 
ject East Africa is frequently compared with India, but the 
countries are so absolutely different that the comparison is 
useless. India has always teemed with inhabitants, most of 
whom are peaceful, industrious, and skilful, while in point of 
civilisation they stand nearer to the European than to the 
African. India has always been a country rich enough to 
tempt foreigners to enter it for loot, and has maintained many 
native arts and industries. When Englishmen went to India 
they found there an established civilisation, abundant agricul- 
tural and mineral resources, and an unlimited supply of cheap 
labour. The country only needed pacification and organisation. 

Eastern Equatorial Africa, on the other hand, is poor, the 
population is thin, the natives are generally on the verge of 
starvation, and for the most part ignorant and indolent. The 
only district which can at all compare with India is Uganda, 
and the higher civilisation and greater intelligence of its people 
are due to the infusion of Hamitic blood. Uganda, however, 
is only a small area, and its power was on the wane and its 


population decreasing when Stanley first visited it. Since 
then it has lost ground materially. The East African Nyika, 
which occupies the largest proportion of British and German 
East Africa, resembles Beluchistan rather than India ; and 
the Beluchistan protectorate is not usually regarded as a very 
important addition to the wealth and strength of the empire. 

The natural products of British East Africa are neither 
numerous nor valuable. Corn and barley have been proved to 
grow well on the inland plateau, and maize is one of the staple 
foods of the country. Average wheat and barley are worth re- 
spectively loos. and 107s. the ton ; while freight from Mombasa 
to London is 25 s. a ton, whereas from Chicago to Liverpool it 
is only 22s. gd. So even when the railway is made to the coast, 
there will be little chance of competition with the grain-fields of 

The rice-fields of the delta of the Tana are extensive and 
prolific, and could easily be made to yield sufficient for local 
consumption ; but they would hardly compete with Egypt and 
India in European markets. Fruits grow well, and something 
might be earned by preparing chutnee from the mangoes and 
tinning the pine-apples which are now wasted. The extensive 
grazing plains of the interior might be utilised for cattle ranches ; 
but it is very doubtful whether these would pay at a time when, 
in spite of their superiority in climate and position, so many 
ranches are bankrupt in La Plata and the United States. In 
East Africa, moreover, cattle disease of a very bad type sweeps 
periodically through the country ; and until its nature is under- 
stood, its ravages will continue and add greatly to the 
uncertainties of African cattle farming. 

The only products which at present appear to pay for 
export to Europe from East Africa are ivory, rubber, orchilla 
weed (the lichen used for dye), copra (the dried kernel of the 
cocoa - nut), kichi - kichi (the seeds of the oil palm), chillies, 
and cloves. Cloves and copra are the most important, and 
could be increased indefinitely, but their growth is limited to 
the coast lands. The only important article of commerce from 
the interior is ivory, and the supply of this is uncertain. Fibre- 

^ The prices of the grain are taken from the Mark Lane Express, 2nd Sept. 1895 (vol. 
Ixxiii. p. 307). For the rates of freight I am indebted to Messrs. Gray, Dawes, and Co., 
and to Mr. J. W. Young of Messrs. Simpson, Spence, and Young. 


yielding plants abound all over the country, but the amount 
used is insignificant. Cotton, coffee, and tea are grown on the 
German plantations in the Witu protectorate, in German East 
Africa, and in Nyasaland. The British East Africa Company 
attempted to grow cotton, but the effort did not succeed, though 
the causes for this failure are preventible. The cotton from 
the German plantations at Ras Tchagga, in the British pro- 
tectorate, is a very good staple, but the quantity raised is very 
small, and the amount exported from Zanzibar to Europe in 
1893 was worth less than ^^3. There are, however, in the 
interior, wide tracts of country well adapted for cotton planta- 
tions, but it is difficult to see how this cotton could compete 
with that from the Southern States of America. 

Still, the success of the settlement at Blantyre shows that 
some areas in Tropical Africa can be made to yield a consider- 
able quantity of produce of sufficient value to pay for carriage 
to England. The profits are not likely to be great, and, so far, 
it is only Scotchmen who have succeeded in this enterprise ; 
but the Blantyre colony has proved that men who have 
sufficient farsightedness and capital to be able to work and 
to wait, and to be contented with " small profits, slow returns," 
may reasonably hope for ultimate success. 

Patience and perseverance, however, are indispensable to 
the development of the agricultural resources of the country, 
and the only chance of sudden prosperity in East Africa is the 
discovery of one or more of the precious metals or minerals in 
considerable quantity. I have no intention of making any 
definite prediction on this subject, for I did not go to Africa 
as a mineral prospector ; and having no time to search properly, 
I thought it better to leave this work alone than to risk 
prejudicing the country by misleading negative results. The 
difficulties of discovering metalliferous veins and of estimating 
their value without extensive borings are so great, that a five 
months' traverse of so wide an area can furnish no ground for 
an opinion. Mining predictions are proverbially erroneous, 
and the value of negative evidence and superficial scraping in 
a hasty traverse is shown by the two following instances. 

Climbing one afternoon, in 1891, over the moraines of the 
upper Arkansas River, I tried to fix the position of one 
group of boulders by a bearing from the spire of the town-hall 


of Leadville. I was using a geological map, on the com- 
paratively large scale of four miles to the inch, which had 
been prepared by the United States Geological Survey.^ It 
had only been issued in 1878, nevertheless Leadville was not 
marked in it. It was not till I recognised that a group of 
ruined shanties at the entrance to California Gulch marked the 
site of Oro City, that I could determine the position of the 
wealthiest town in the Rocky Mountains. The country had 
been surveyed by the official geologists of the United States, 
and a number of practical miners had lived for years in the 
distribt, without discovering that beneath the very slope on 
which their camp was pitched, lay what is now the most 
productive silver mine in the world. 

The history of the Comstock Lode ^ is even more 
instructive. Some alluvial gold was found beside it in 1850 ; 
in 185 I colonies of miners settled in the district and worked 
there; but it was not till 1858 that it was accidentally dis- 
covered that they were living beside a silver lode, which 
subsequently proved to be the richest metalliferous deposit 
known in mining history. 

It would therefore be absurd at the present time to express 
any opinion on the mineral resources of British East Africa. 
As gold is one of the most universally distributed of metals, it 
will no doubt be found. Many of the quartz reefs look promis- 
ing, but most of the rocks which have been described as such 
are really quartz pegmatite veins. Silver is more likely to occur 
in the volcanic region, for in the United States it is generally 
associated with the " propylites," which are very extensively 
developed in East Africa. Silver and lead exist in the hills 
near Mombasa, where some trial borings and shafts have been 
made, and I found some thin seams in the Sabaki valley. 
Graphite is widely distributed, and near Tzavo it is common ; in 
one place I found a few crystals of cassiterite or tinstone, but 
it is not probable that either mineral is sufficiently abundant 
to pay for working. Iron ores occur in considerable quantity 
all over the country, but there is no proper fuel with which to 

1 " Geol. and Geog. Surv. of Territories," Geol. and Geog. Atlas of Colorado, United 

^ A good summary of the history of this lode is given in the fourth chapter of Ed. 
Suess's Die Ziikunft des Silbers, VV^ien, 1892, pp. 67-82. The standard authority is 
Lord's Comstock Miners and Mining. 


work it, and except for limited local- purposes it is valueless. 
Some of the tribes collect grains of hematite from streams, 
and smelt it by charcoal in furnaces of the " Catalan " type. 
But except in a few places, the native smiths cannot compete 
even in their own villages with iron from Birmingham, brought 
up country by trading caravans in the form of wire. I am 
indebted to my friend Professor Tate, late of the Royal College 
of Science, for assays of three iron ores collected by Mr. Scott 
Elliot in Usoga, which yielded respectively 61.69, 41.08 and 
43.21 per cent of iron. But the richest ore contains so much 
phosphorus and sulphur that it is useless, and Mr. Tate states 
that the poorest ore is really the most valuable, as it might be 
used as an ochre. 

The second factor on which the successful administration 
of East Africa depends is the supply of native labour, and the 
outlook here is not generally considered hopeful ; the contempt 
in which men like Burton and Cameron held the African, and 
their failure to make their men work properly, still influences 
English opinion. We are repeatedly reminded that the 
African will not work, and cannot be made to work, except 
in slavery. For my own part, I take a more favourable view 
of the prospect, and consider it definitely good. 

It has been repeatedly shown that the possibility of 
inducing the African to work is simply a question of tact and 
management. The average Bantu is lazy, but he likes to be 
comfortable. His vanity is easily roused, and his capacity for 
imitation is marvellous. Few people can be taught to want 
more easily, and his good-nature and great physical strength 
render him a most devoted and useful servant. His habits of 
indolence, it is true, are deeply ingrained, and cannot be over- 
come at once. Stanley's first efforts to make the natives of 
the Congo undertake regular work were failures. But he 
succeeded at last, and the Congo Free State has now over 
1 00,000 native porters in its service, with an army of several 
thousand men enlisted from some tribes which were formerly 
the most degraded and ferocious savages in Africa. On the 
other side of the Continent a similar success has been gained, 
though on a smaller scale. Mr. Ainsworth at Machakos has so 
won the confidence of the Wa-kamba, that he has entrusted 
them with the defence of the fort, and the postal service for 


half the journey to the coast. On passing the Taita hills on 
my way inland, I found that Mr. George Wilson had just 
settled there, and was determined to persuade the natives to 
help him to make his road through their country. The mission 
station there had just been withdrawn on the ground that the 
Wa-taita are " an awful lot of sweeps," and the commander of 
a caravan had recently hung a {t.v4 of the people as a warning 
to the rest. I therefore went up country pitying Mr. Wilson 
in his hopeless task. When I met him again on my return, 
I found, to my amazement, that his tact and patience had been 
successful ; a couple of hundred Wa-taita were merrily working 
on the road, and as many more as were wanted could be had 
for the asking. 

Patience, however, is indispensable. It required years of 
persistent labour by a band of self-sacrificing enthusiasts on 
the Congo to enlist the natives of that district, and in British 
East Africa the population is now extremely sparse. The 
sketch-map on p. 2)^Q shows how large a proportion of the 
country is uninhabited, or occupied only by a few nomads. 
Yet granted security and peace, the suppression of war raids, 
and a guarantee that the crops will be reaped by the sower, then 
the Bantu will multiply like the rabbit, and spread throughout 
the land. I believe the problem of converting the next 
generation into steady, capable workmen is only a question of 
patient administration by men whose hearts are in their 
work, and who know how to treat the natives with tact and 

The present condition of the West Indian islands shows 
that the negro can be made to work as a freeman, and that 
the permanent retention of slavery is unnecessary. But the 
history of these islands during the first half of the present 
century also shows how much harm can be done by the reck- 
less suppression of even so great an evil as that system. The 
sudden emancipation of the West Indian slaves furnishes a 
useful warning ; it resulted not only in the temporary ruin of 
the colonies, but in the enormous increase of the slave-trade. 

T. Powell Buxton,^ one of the foremost advocates of the 
Emancipation Act of 1833, confessed, six years after it had 
passed, that " the number [of slaves] annually landed in Cuba 

1 T. F. Buxton, History of the Africafi Slave Trade (1839), p. 173. 


and Brazil, etc., is 150,000, being more than double the whole 
draught upon Africa, including the countries where it had 
ceased, when the slave-trade controversy began ! Twice as 
many human beings are now its victims as when Wilberforce 
and Clarkson entered upon their noble task ; and each indi- 
vidual of this increased number, in addition to the horrors 
which were endured in former times, has to suffer from being 
cribbed up in a narrower space, and on board a vessel where 
accommodation is sacrificed to speed." To quote Alison's 
summary of Buxton's admissions : " Thus the effect of the eman- 
cipation of the negroes has been to ruin our own planters, stop 
the civilisation of our own negroes, and double the slave-trade 
in extent and quadruple it in horrors throughout the globe." ^ 

We have already twice experienced in East Africa the 
disastrous effects of precipitate interference with slavery. The 
revolt in the Soudan, the rise of the power of the Mahdi, the 
massacre of Hicks Pasha's army, the loss by Egypt of the 
whole of her equatorial provinces, and the death of Gordon, 
are now generally recognised as the result of our attempts to 
suppress slavery before supplying anything to take its place. 
We tried to destroy that which was an integral part of the 
social system of the ruling race, without realising how vast a 
cavity would be produced and how fatal it would seem to them. 
Similarly the guerilla warfare, which has continued in British 
East Africa ever since the British occupation of Witu, is mainly 
due to the same cause. It is true that the fighting began by 
an expedition which was sent to avenge the massacre of a 
party of German traders. But the power of the Witu rebels 
was largely due to the secret assistance of the coast Arabs. 
They foresaw the ruin of their plantations through a continuance 
of British efforts to suppress slavery, emphasised as it was by 
the action of the missionaries, who afforded shelter to runaway 
slaves in spite of their promises to the contrary. The British 
officials at Zanzibar and Mombasa, and especially that states- 
manlike officer. Captain Rogers of Lamu, are fully alive to the 
possibilities of an Arab rebellion.^ At Melindi, at Mambrui 
and Magarini, in fact all along the coast, extensive plantations 

^ A. Alison, History of Europe, Continuation, vol. v. (1864), p. 54. 
^ Since this chapter was written, the simmering discontent has broken out into a 
serious rebellion. 


are being abandoned owing to the impossibility of obtaining 
sufficient labour. The Arabs see their property being ruined, 
and are naturally hostile to British rule. Here and there one 
of them has raised the standard of revolt, and expeditions, such 
as that now in progress against Mbaruk bin Rashid, have 
continually to be undertaken. Our power of punishing the 
rebels is very limited. If we bombard the coast towns, we only 
destroy the property of our peaceful subjects, the Hindu 
banyans, who live there. If we storm the rebel stronghold, the 
chief escapes and builds another on the next forest-covered 
hill. If we ravage his plantations, we are really punishing the 
Indian banker at Zanzibar to whom they are mortgaged. 

It is no doubt utterly distasteful to British sentiment to 
tolerate slavery in one of our protectorates, even for a time, 
with the knowledge that it is lessening. Our feelings are so 
strong on this point that we may easily be hurried into a course 
of action which will cause far more injustice and more suffering 
to the innocent than will be saved. British opinion on this 
question is a survival from the time when slavery was in force 
in the Southern States of America, in Cuba, and Brazil. There 
negroes were compelled to work under European masters, with 
European regularity and rigour. Much cruelty was no doubt 
used in these countries to force . the negroes into compliance 
with methods of work for which they were constitutionally unfit. 
But African slavery as it exists in the British protectorate is a 
very different matter. The slaves cannot be bought or sold, 
and can only be transferred by direct inheritance from father 
to son. Their children are free. The slaves can hold private 
property, and it is not at all rare for a man who is a slave to 
own other slaves himself. They have two days a week on 
which to work for themselves. The owners cannot force their 
way unbidden into the slaves' houses, cannot flog them, and is 
bound to provide them with food, clothes, and lodging. The 
masters themselves are very indolent ; and as there is no attempt 
to run plantations at high pressure, the slaves are not over- 
worked. They have a much easier time than the freemen who 
work for a monthly wage in a European caravan, and they 
generally appear contented and happy. The system is certainly 
not slavery if we accept Cicero's definition as true — " Slavery is 
the obedience of a broken, abject spirit, deprived of free choice " 


{Servitus est obedientia fracti animi et abjecti et arbitrio suo 
carentis). It is vain to search in an ordinary East African 
plantation for a broken, abject spirit in the slaves. The system 
is simply a serfdom, and it has been as necessary in the 
development of East Africa as feudalism was in Europe. 
Under the laws now in force the slaves will gradually die out 
and be replaced by freemen, and the change had far better 
come slowly than by a sudden revolution. It is objected that 
these laws have been in existence for years, and if they had 
been enforced slavery would now be extinct, and therefore all 
existing slaves should be freed at once. But the fact that the 
laws have not been enforced in the past, under native rule, is 
no proof that they will not be so, now that the country is under 
direct British administration. 

Reference need only be made to the recent report of Mr. 
D. Mackenzie, the Special Commissioner sent to East Africa by 
the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, to show that the 
practical grievances to be redressed have become both com- 
paratively and actually small. The Commissioner has no 
sensational stories of diabolical wickedness to relate. Instead 
of finding that the slave-owners are Legrees, he describes them 
as benevolent-looking old gentlemen, who are good friends with 
the naval officers engaged in the suppression of the slave-trade ; 
they received him with open hospitality, and their only act 
of unkindness was occasionally asking awkward questions. 
The only case quoted, except on rumour, of cruel treatment of 
slaves, is one of imprisonment for trivial offences ; and the 
Commissioner tells us that his evidence as to the nature of the 
offences was the statement of the prisoners themselves. If a 
slave-owner of Zanzibar asked the inmates of Newgate why 
they were there, he would probably conclude from the answers 
that justice in England is blind indeed. The Commissioner 
appears to have been aided most ungrudgingly by the local 
authorities, both by the British officials, " whose kindness and 
attention during my stay in Zanzibar surpassed anything I 
could have expected," and the officers of the Sultan of Zanzibar, 
who "furthered my plans in every possible way." It was 
apparently only the missionaries who did not help, and the 
Commissioner's account of their attitude is one of the most 
significant things in his report, A few years ago some of the 


missionaries did serious injury to the British cause by their 
injudicious and illegal interference with the slave-trade. Mr. 
Mackenzie now complains that " it does not appear to me that 
missionary societies engaged in missionary work in Africa give 
that help which they might do to forward the cause of freedom." ^ 
He also expresses great disappointment at his interview with 
Mr. Piggott, who as the Administrator of the Company which 
has purchased the freedom of thousands of slaves, and as the 
Treasurer of the Financial Committee of the Church Missionary 
Society's headquarters at Freretown, is not likely to be accused 
of lack of sympathy with the natives. But the Commissioner 
reports Mr. Piggott as saying" that "the British East Africa 
Company had liberated a good many slaves, but the result was 
unsatisfactory, as they would not work. He was opposed to 
the abolition of slavery, as the slaves seemed to be perfectly 
happy, and in his opinion they seemed only fit for bondage. 
This tale was poured into my ears on several occasions. Mr. 
Piggott assured me that many missionaries were of his way of 
thinking, and from what I heard some of them say, his asser- 
tions were correct as to their opinion." 

The missionaries, in fact, seem now to recognise that 
domestic slavery is not the unqualified evil they once thought 
it, and that it is better by the enforcement of existing laws to 
eradicate the system gradually, rather than by a sudden social 
revolution to risk the horrors of an East African mutiny. They 
seem also now to realise the truth that slavery may be regarded 
as a larval appendage, necessary in a certain stage of national 
development, and, later on, to be absorbed like the lobes of a 
larval star-fish, or thrown aside like the shell of a bird's &%%. 
Rudely to tear off the bands of the young star-fish is fatal to 
its development, and to help an immature chicken by breaking 
open its shell is not likely to add to the happiness of the 
creature, whom the action was intended to aid. 

I regret, therefore, that I cannot represent British East Africa 
as a land flowing with milk and honey, rich in precious metals, 
and crowded with a capable and industrious population. On the 

' A Report on Slavery and the Slave Trade in Zanzibar, Pemba, and the Mainland 
of the British Protectorates of East Africa (1895), p. 22, 
- Op. cit. p. 13. 


contrary, I must admit that no great commercial prosperity 
can be immediately expected. In this, however. East Africa 
is not exceptional. I am not aware that any purely agricultural 
colony has been a financial success in the first or second 
generation. The United States were founded as a refuge from 
oppression ; the Cape of Good Hope was occupied for stra- 
tegical purposes as a half-way house to Batavia ; Australia 
made no important progress until it began to yield gold. 
There is no reason, therefore, why we should expect from 
Equatorial Africa what these richer countries of the temperate 
zone have failed to do. The development of the country must 
proceed slowly and tediously, and will require to be carried on 
with caution, perseverance, and self-sacrifice. But it is not a 
task to be shirked by the country which has succeeded in the 
more difficult feat of ruling India and of spreading her colonies 
over the globe. England ought at least to beat any rival in 
this field. She has the best opportunities, the truest colonising 
instincts, and by remarkable good fortune has secured the 
most promising districts in Africa. No one who has travelled 
through the German and British protectorates in East Africa 
has failed to be struck by the fact that in the partition of this 
region England has obtained the better share. British East 
Africa includes more fertile, healthier, and more thickly 
populated districts than those of the German sphere ; and in 
Uganda England holds the most important strategical position 
in the Continent. German East Africa contains nothing so 
rich as the Kapte plains or so fertile as the Tana delta, and 
has no such intelligent and comparatively civilised people as 
the Waganda. The fact that more progress has been made in 
the German protectorate than in the British, speaks volumes 
for the energy of our rivals and the wisdom of her administrators. 
England, however, can well afford Germany her start, for 
our position is a strong one, and the construction of the Uganda 
Railway will secure our unrivalled supremacy in Central Africa. 
The French attempts in the Niger and on the Congo have so 
far led to nothing but heavy burdens and light glory. The 
successes achieved in the German sphere are hardly com- 
mensurate with the enormous sacrifices of men and money. 
The Congo Free State has certainly lost ground since the 
dismissal of the English staff. Of all the countries which have 


joined in the recent " scramble for Africa," England alone has 
so far gained materially from her African possessions. 

With Canada crippled by the competition of the United 
States, and Australia passing through a serious commercial 
depression, South Africa is to-day the most flourishing of all 
our colonies. As it has only attained this prosperity after 
seventy years of steady work in a healthy invigorating climate, 
it would be absurd to be disheartened by slow progress on the 
Equator. But if we cannot reasonably anticipate an immediate 
return for our expenditure, we may hope to brighten the lives 
and secure the greatest happiness of the greatest number of 
the downtrodden inhabitants of our East African dominions. 
England may at once put a stop to the horrors of barbaric 
tribal warfare, as well as to the cruelties of slave raids, 
and by the gradual substitution of free labour for the present 
wasteful system of domestic slavery, arouse more enterprise, 
independence, and intelligence among the people. If England 
only continues her work in this region also, she will change 
chaos to order, transform swamps into fields, and irrigate 
deserts into gardens. Having found the inhabitants ignorant, 
oppressed, and poverty-stricken, she will give them industrial 
training, fixity of tenure, and freedom from disturbance. And 
when Britain's services to human progress are finally added up, 
the civilisation of her East African possessions will be counted 
as not one of the least important of her contributions to the 
happiness and order of the world. 


2 C 



Baker, E. G. — "A new Tree Senecio from Tropical Africa," Journ. 

Bot. vol. xxxii., 1894, pp. 140-142. 
"African Species of Lobelia § Rhynchopetalum," ibid. pp. 65-70, 

pis. 340-341- 
Beddard, F. E. — "A Monograph of the Order Oligochsta," Oxford, 

1895 (p. 612, Foiytoreutus gregorianus, etc.) 
Bell, F. J. — "Note on three Species of River Crabs of the genus 

Thelphusa, from Specimens collected in Eastern Africa by 

Dr. J. W. Gregory, Mr. H. H. Johnston, C.B., and Mr. 

F. J. Jackson," Froc. Zoo/. Soc. 1894, p. 166. 
Boulenger, G. A. — "Third Report on Additions to the Batrachian 

Collection in the Natural History Museum," Froc. Zool. Soc. 

1894, p. 646, pi. xl. 
Butler, A. G. — " On a Collection of Lepidoptera from British East 

Africa, made by Dr. J. W. Gregory between the months of 

March and August 1893," Froc. Zool. Soc. 1894, pp. 557- 

593, pis. xxxvi. xxxvii. 
Godwin-Austen, H. H. — " Notes on Trochonanina and other Genera 

of Land MoUusca, with Reference to the Generic Position 

of Martensia Mozambicensis and other Species," Froc. 

Malacol. Soc. vol. i. pt. 6, 1895, PP- 281-287, pi. xix. 
Gregory, J. W. — " The Natural History of East Equatorial Africa," 

Nature, vol. xlix., Nov. 1893, p. 12. 
" An Expedition to Mount Kenya," Fortnightly Review, Mar. 

1894, pp. 327-337. 
"Mountaineering in Central Africa, with an Attempt on Mount 

Kenya," Alpine /our n. vol. xvii., 1894, pp. 89-104. 
"On Zoological Distribution in Africa," Froc. Zool. Soc. 1894, 

pp. 165-166. 


Gregory, J. W. — '• Contributions to the Physical Geography of British 
East Africa," Geog. Journ., Oct.-Dec. 1894, vol. iv. pp. 289- 
315, 408-424, 505-524. 
" Contributions to the Geology of British East Africa." Part I. 
" The Glacial Geology of Mount Kenya," Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. 

vol. 1., 1894, pp. 515-530- 
"Expedition in East Africa," Geog. Journ. vol. i., 1893, pp. 456- 

457; vol. ii. pp. 326-327. 
"The Natives of East Africa," Phoiiogr. Quart. Rev. vol. i., 
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Giinther, A. — " Report on the Collection of Reptiles and Fishes made 
by Dr. J. W. Gregory during his Expedition to Mount 
Kenia," Proc. Zool. Soc. 1894, pp. 84-91, pis. viii.-xi. 
Hahn, F. — "Gregory's Reise zum Baringo-See und Kenya," 

Petermann's Afitth. Bd. xli., 1895, Beil. p. 168. 
Moore, Spencer Le M. — '• New Acanthacese from Tropical Africa," 

Journ. Bot. vol. xxxii., 1894, pp. 129-139, pi. 343. 
Rendle, A. B. — '• A Contribution to the Flora of Eastern Tropical 
Africa," Joicrn. Li?in. Soc. Bot. vol. xxx. pp. 373-435, pis. 
" New African Convolvulacese," Jourti. Bot. vol. xxxiv. pp. 

.Schlechter, R., and Rendle, A. B. — " New Tropical African Asclepiads," 

Journ. Bot. vol. xxxiv. pp. 97-99, PI. 356. 
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vol. iii. p. ix. 
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PP- 340-344- 

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by Dr. J. W. Gregory in East Africa during his Expedition 
to Mount Kenia, with Descriptions of a few new Species," 
Froc. Malacol. Soc. vol. i., 1894, pp. 163-168. 

Thomas, O. — "Descriptions of two new Species of Macroscelides," 
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East Africa, with Remarks on the Milk-Dentition of the 
Genus," Ann. Afag. Nat. Hist. ser. 6, vol. xiii., 1894, pp. 



By E. G. Baker, F.L.S. 



Clematis simensis 

var. dentata 
Ranunculus pinnatus var. 
Thalictrum rhynchocarpum 


Cardamine Johnston! 

,, afi'icana 

Arabis albida 
Crambe hispanica 


Cleome aff. ciliata 
Gynandropsis pentaphylla 

Viola abyssinica 


Polygala Petiliana 
,, abyssinica 



O. K. 


Dill, and Rich. 





Ndi, Taita Mts. 

Maji Chumvi, nr. Mombasa 

Upper Alpine Zone, Mt. Kenya 

Kenya at lower edge of Bamboo 
Zone, and on terminal moraine in 
Lower Alpine Zone 

Kenya, terminal moraine in Lower 
Alpine Zone 

Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Kikuyu Scarp of Rift Valley 

Sebum. &Thonn.| S. bank of Kiroruma 
DC. Ndi, Taita Mts. 


A. Rich. 
R. Br. 


Ndi, Taita Mts. 
Ndoli, Iveti Mts. 







Drymaria cordata 


Kithungulu, Kikuyu 

Stellaria aff. media 


Lower Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Cerastium sp. 

!) 11 


Talinum cuneifolium 


vSabaki Valley, by Second Stockade 

Portulaca aff. pilosa 




Tamarix gallica 


Salt River, Nyika 


Hypericum intermedium 


Maka, Iveti Mts. 

,, Schimperi 


G, Nairotia, I.aikipia 


Sida Schimperiana 


Rift Valley, Kikuyu Scarp, and G. 

,, rhombifolia 


Ndi, Taita Mts. 

„ ,, var. 


Ndi, and steppes N. of Kiroruma 

,, grewioides 

G. and P. 

Marungu, N. of Kiroruma 

Abutilon asiaticum 

G. Don. 


,, indicum 


Njemps Mkuba 

Pavonia arabica 


Ngurunga Kifaniko, Tzavo ; Njoro 
Larabwal, nr. Baringo 

,, Schimperiana 


var. tomentosa 


Kithu-Uri, Kikuyu ; Maka, Iveti 

Pavonia zeylanica 


Sabaki Valley 

,, propinqua 


Lake Dumi, Tana Valley 

Hibiscus off. crassinervis 


Kilungu, Iveti Mts. ; Lanjoro on 
Kapte Plains 

,, cannabinus 


Mwatchi ; Ngurunga Kifaniko, nr. 

,, micranthus 

Tana Valley at Lake Dumi, Gol- 
banti and Kau ; Sabaki Valley 
at Tanganyika ; Nyika at 

,, gossypinus 


G. Nairotia, Laikipia ; Maka, 
Iveti Mts. 

,, vitifolius 


N. of G. Thegu, Laikipia 


Grewia populifolia 



Triumfetta flavescens 


Lake Kibibi, Rift Valley 

,, sp. nov. 

Ngomeni, nr. Tzavo 




Linum sp. 

Geranium simense 

Oxalis aff. punctata 
Pelargonium glechomoides 
Erodium sp. nov. 
Impatiens micrantha 


Clausena incequalis 

Gymnosporia ii. sp. 

Vitis Labrusca 


Cardiospermum Halicacabum 


Crotalavia glauca var. 
,, senegalensis 

Parochetus major 

Trifoliuni Johnstoni 
, , repens 

Indigofera sp. 

Tephrosia purpurea 

,, ,, var. /3 pu- 


,, aff. Hildebrandtii 

, , [aff. sp. from Shire) 

.'Eschynomene Telekii 

Stylosanthes mucronata 

Clitoria ternatea 

Centrosema virginianum 

Glycine javanica 

Rhynchosia flavissima 
Derris uliginosa 


















G. Laschau, Laikipia 

G. Mairi, Laikipia ; Lanjoro, S. of 

G. Thegu, Kikuyu 
Second Swamp, Kikuyu 
Mkuyuni, Foot-hills of Kamasia 
Kapte Plains, W. of Maka 
Kenya, Bamboo Zone 

G. Nairotia, Laikipia 



Ndi, Taita Mts. 


Kenya, lower margin of Bamboo 

Kenya, Lower Alpine Zone 
Kithungulu, Kikuyu 
N. end of Lake Losuguta 
W. shore of Baringo 
Ndara, Taita Mts. 

Kilungu, Iveti Mts. 

Mto Mkindu, Nyika 


S. of Kiroruma River 

Lava Plains, N. of Kiroruma River 


Kikuyu Scarp of Rift Valley ; 

Alng'aria, Laikipia ; Kithungulu, 







Eriosema polystachyum 
Csesalpinia pulcherrima 
Cassia aff. Hildebrandtii 



Alng'aria, Laikipia 


Maka, Iveti Mts. 

Acacia arabica 


Sabaki Valley 

Bauhinia Volkensii 


Kilungu, Iveti Mts. 


Alchemilla Johnstoni 


Kenya, on terminal moraine in 
Lower Alpine Zone ; Hohnel 

,, argyrophylia 
,, pedata 
var. gracilipes (?) 


^^alley in Upper Alpine Zone 
Lower Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Ndoro, at W. foot of Kenya 


Crassula aff. corymbulosa 
Tillrea aquatica 

Ammania salicifolia 


Cephalandra indica 
Momordica Charantia 
,, trifoliolata 

Caucalis infesta 



Hook. fil. 


Lower Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Kenya, lower margin of Bamboo 


Ngatana and Witu 

Kikuyu Scarp in Rift Valley 

By James Britten, F.L.S. 






Pentas carnea 


Magarini Hills, nr. RLambrui 

Pentodon decumbens 


Lake Dumi, Tana Valley 

Diodia sarmentosa 


Marungu, steppes of the Kiroruma 

Anthospermum lanceolatum 


G. Laschau, Laikipia 

Galium Aparine 


Mid. of Bamboo Zone, Kenya 

,, smiense 



Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 





Ethulia conyzoides 
Vernonia cinerea 
,, demulans 
,, pauciflora 

Ageratum conyzoides 

Dicrocephala latifolia 

Conyza Newii 

Tarclionanthus camphoratus 
Pluchea Dioscoridis 
Achyrocline Hoclistetteri 

, , glumacea 

,, Schimperi 

Helichrysum fcetidum 

Spilanthes Aclnella 

Guizotia abyssinica 


Chrysanthellum procumbens 


Senecio discifolius 


,, keniensis 

Bak. fil. 

Tripteris Vaillantii 


Arctotis Ruppellii 

0. Hoflfm 

Lactuca capensis 


Sonchus Bipontini 
var. piniiatifidus 


Lobelia Gretroriana 








and Hiein 




Oliv. and Hiein. 
Sch. Bip. 

cymosum Less 

,, ,, var.covci- 

Helichrysum JMeyeri-Johannis 

,, nudatum 

Polycline gracilis 
Astephania africana 
Aspilia Holstii 
Melanthea Brownii 


O. Ploffm. 
Sch. Bip. 


Bak. fil. 




Nzaoi, Iveti Mts. ; Wakilomi, in 

Maka, Iveti Mts. ; (?) Ndara,Taita 

Mkonumbi; Ngatana; Kapte Plains; 

Foot-hills of Kamasia 
Foot-hills of Kamasia ; G. Thegu, 

Mto Ndangi, Ukamba ; G. Narok, 

G. Narok, Laikipia 
Ngatana ; Makongeni, Sabaki 
G. Thegu and Lanjoro, S. of G. 

Thegu, N. Kikuyu ; Steppes of 

Kiroruma ; Wakilomi, in Maka, 

Iveti Mts. 
Foot-hills of Kamasia 
Maji Chumvi, nr. Mombasa ; G. 

Thegu, N. Kikuyu 
G. Nairotia, Laikipia ; Wakilomi, 

in Maka, Iveti Mts. 
G. Laschau, Laikipia 
Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Lower Alpine Zone, Kenya 
Gopo lal Mwaru, Laikipia 
Kapte Plains, W. of Maka 
Wakilomi, in Maka, Iveti Mts. 
G. Thegu, N. Kikuyu 
Mkonumbi ; Ngatana ; Njemps 

Foot-hills of Kamasia ; G. Mairi, 

W. foot of Kenya 
G. Mairi, W^ foot of Kenya 
Mto Kiboko, Ukamba 
Kithungulu, N. E. Kikuyu ; Steppes 

of Kiroruma 
Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya. 
Ndi, Taita Mts. 
Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 
Ngatana ; Lake Dumi, Tana ; G. 

Mairi, W. foot of Kenya ; E. of 


G. Thegu, N. Kikuyu 

Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 






Lobelia Telekii 


Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 



Mt. Mbololo, Taita Mts. 

„ fervens 


Kilima Meza, E. of Lake Elmetaita ; 
Kapte Plains, W. of Maka ; Mt. 
Mangea, Giriama ; Mkonumbi 

Cyphia glandulifera 


Kikuyu Scarp of Rift Valley 

Lightfootia, sp. 

Sabaki Valley 


Erica, sp. n. 

Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 

BlDsria, sp. 

" . 


Plumbago zeylanica 


Nzaoi, Iveti Mts. ; Kamasia 


Anagallis serpens var. 


Nzaoi, Iveti Mts. ; Kamasia 


Jasminum abyssinicum 




Salvadora persica 


Lake Dumi, Tana Valley 


Gomphocarpus fruticosus 

R. Br. 

Marungu, Steppes of Kiroruma 
Alng'aria, Laikipia ; Lokenya, Kapte 

var. angustissimus 


Gomphocarpus cfr. rhino- 

K. Schum. 

Alng'aria, Laikipia 


Pentarrhinum abyssinicum 


Njemps Mkuba 

Kanahia Delilei 


G. Nagut, N. of Elmetaita; Bondoni, 
Kapte Plains 

Dsemia extensa 

R. Br. 


Baseonema Gregorii 

Schl. & Rendle 

Kinani, E. Ongalea Mt. 


Sebaea trachyphylla 


G. Mairi and Lanjoro, S. of G. 
Thegu, at W. foot of Kenya 

Exacum quinquenervium 


Nzaoi, Iveti Mts. 

Swertia pumila 


Lower edge of Bamboo Zone, 

,, Schimperi 


Upper and Lower Alpine Zones, 

Limnanthemum indicum 









Trichodesma zeylanicum 


Witu ; Nzaoi, Iveti Mts. 

Cynoglossum micranthum 


Kamasia ; G. Narok, Laikipia ; 
Wakilomi, Iveti Mts. 

Heliotropium zeylanicum 


Mkonumbi ; Lake Dumi, Tana 
Valley ; G. Morendat and G. 
Nagut, Rift Valley ; Steppes of 
Thika - thika ; W. of Lugard's 
Falls, Sabaki River 

,, strigosum 


Ndara, Taita Mts. ; Steppes of 


Ipomcea tuberculata 

Roem. & Sch. 

Lanjoro, nr. Lokenya, Kapte Plains 

,, ovalifolia 


Lake Dumi, Tana Valley 

,, cfr. cordofana 


" )' 

,, ophthalmantha 


Magarini, nr. Mambrui 

, , tenuirostris 


Bank of Kiroruma 

, , carnosa 


Lake Dumi, Tana Valley 

,, Britteniana 



., blepharophylla 


var. cordata 


Marungu, -Steppes of the Kiroruma 

,, cf?: tambalensis 


Nzaoi, Iveti Mts. 

Merremia Gregorii 


Golbanti, Tana Valley 

Aniseia calycina 


Njemps Mkuba 

Hewittia bicolor 


Banks of Kiroruma 

Convolvulus sagittatus 


var. macroglottis 


G. Mairi, W. foot of Kenya 

Convolvulus malvaceus 


Wakilomi, Maka, Iveti Mts. 

Evolvulus nummularius 


Sabaki Valley 


Veronica, sp. nov. 


Craterostigma pumilum 


Nr. Lokenya, Kapte Plains 

,, sp. nov. 

11 )» 11 

Diclis ovata 


Lower edge of Bamboo Zone, Kenya 

Ilysanthes gratioloides 

Gorge of Thika-thika 

Striga senegalensis 


Lake Dumi, Tana ^^alley 

,, sp. 

G. Laschau, Laikipia 

Alectra, sp. 

G. Mairi, W. foot of Kenya ; 

Cycnium Herzfeldianum 

Engl. ■■■ 

Kithungulu, Kikuyu 

,, tubulosum 


Kikuyu Scarp of Rift Valley ; G. 
Mairi, W. foot of Kenya 

Sopubia ramosa 


Gopo lal Mwaru, Laikipia 

,, kituiensis 


Steppes of Thika-thika 

,, trifida 


G. Mairi, W. foot of Kenya ; Waki- 
lomi, Maka, Iveti Mts. 



Homilacanthus Gregorii 

S. Moore 

Lower edge of Bamboo Zone, Kenya 

^ The Solanaceae, Selaginea;, and Verbenacere have not yet been identified. 
^ The Acantliacens are taken from the paper by Mr. Spencer Moore. 






Thunbergia Gregorii 

S. Moore 

Kilungu, Iveti Mts. 

Dyschoriste Hildebrandtii 


,, var. mollis 


Steppes of Thika-thika 

Ruellia megachlamys 


Ngurunga Kifaniko, Taita Mts. 

Crabbea velutina 


Asystasia linearis 

, , 

Mwatchi, nr. Mombasa 

Ecbolium amplexicaule 


vSabaki Valley 

,, striatum 

Balf. fil. 


Justicla leikipiensis 

S. Moore 

Gopo lal Mwaru 

,, Gregorii 


Mkuyuni, Foot-hills of Kamasia 


Moschosma polystachyum 


Kau ; Lake Dumi, Tana Valley 

Hoslundia verticillata 


Foot-hills of Kamasia and of Laikipia 

Micromeria punctata 


G. Mairi and Lanjoro, S. of G. 
Thegu, at W. foot of Kenya 

Leucas Neuflizeana 


Ngurunga Kifaniko, S. of Tzavo ; 
Bondoni, Kapte Plains 

,, near grandis 


G. Thegu, -S.W. of Kenya 

,, oligocephala 

Hook. fil. 

Ndi, Taita Mts. 

„ glabrata 

Br. (?) 


Tinnea tethiopica 

K. and P. 


Ajuga bracteosa 


G. Laschau, Laikipia ; Marungu, 
Steppes of Kiroruma 

By James Britten, F.L.S., and A. B. Rendle, M.A., F.L.S. 





^rua lanata 


Mt. Mangea, Giriama 

,. ,, var. oblongata 


Kilima Meza, E. of Kariandusi 

,, ,, forma 

Maungu, Nyika 

, , javanica 


Makongeni, Sabaki 

Alternanthera nodiflora 

R. Br. 

E. shore of Lake Losuguta 

Achyranthes aspera 


Kau, nr. Witu ; Ndi, Taita Mts. ; 
G. Nairotia, Laikipia 

Celosia argentea 


Njemps Mkuba 

,, anthelminthica 


G. Nairotia, Laikipia 

Pupalia lappacea 


G. Tigirish, Njemps 

Digera arvensis 


,, var. perennans 


Lake Dumi, Tana Valley 

Amarantus chlorostachys 


Ngatana, Lower Tana ; Banks of 
Kiroruma, or Upper Tana 

Centema, sj>. 

Witu ; Ngatana 

Ngurunga Kifaniko, S. of Tzavo 





Cyathula cylindrica, var. 

Pupalia, sp. 


Chenopodium foetidum 

., album 
Suseda monoica 



Oxygonum sinuatum 

Eenth. & Hool^ 

Rumex Steudelii 
,, nervosus 
Polygonum tomentosum 
aff. „ 





Cassytha, sj>. 


Euphorbia pilulifera 

,, hypericifolia 

,, indica 

,, sarnientosa 

Phyllanthus maderaspatensis 







var. Thonningii 
Phyllanthus, sp. 

Gnidia Vatkeana 

Sarcophyte sanguinea 

Mull. Arg. 

Gilg. and Engl. 

Bamboo Zone, Kenya 
Kikuyu Scarp of Rift Valley 

Kau, nr. Witu ; Kilima i\Ieza, E. of 

Lugard's Falls, Sabaki 

Kinani, Nyika ; Malewa R., Rift 

Rangatan Ndari, Laikipia 

Ngatana, on Tana 
Golbanti, on Tana 

Lower edge of Bamboo Zone, Kenya 

Nr. Mkuyuni, Foot-hills of Kamasia 


Marungu, E. Kikuyu 

Ndara, Taita Mts. ; Wakilomi, in 

Maka, Iveti Mis. 


G. Thegu, N. Kikuyu 
Nzaoi, Iveti Mts. 

By a. B. Rendle, M.A., F.L.S. 





Lagarosiphon tenuis 

,, hydrilloides 








Mystacidium, sp. 
Habenaria pedicellaris 

,, ndiana 
Brachycorythis pubescens 

var. minor 
Disa Gregoriana 


Sanseviera cylindrica 
, , guineensis 


Acidanthera Candida 
Gladiolus Quartiniano, aff. 
,, watsonioides 


Hypoxis laikipiensis 
,, Gregoriana 
Crinum, sp. 


Asparagus plumosus 

,, medeoloides 
Bulbine asphodeloides 

Anthericum acuminatum 
,, purpuratum 

,, Gregorianum 

Ornithogalum Eckloni 

Gloriosa virescens 


(J!ommelina africana 

,, cf. purpurea 

, , subulata 

,, albescens 

Aneilema sinicum 
,, Clarkei 


Juncus effusus 

,, Fontanesii 
Luzula spicata 
var. simensis 

Typha angustifolia 



A. Rich. 



Schult. fil. 




C. B. Clarke 






J. Gay 






Lower Alpine Zone, Kenya 


Kapte Plains 

GopolalMwaru, Laikipia; Kariandusi 

Lower Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Alng'aria, Laikipia 

Rift Valley, Kikuyu Scarp 

Rift Valley, Miviruni, and G. Nyuki 

Rift Valley, Kikuyu Scarp 

Rift Valley, Kikuyu Scarp ; Lake 

Ngurunga Kifaniko, nr. Tzavo 

It •>•) 5) 

Kapte Plains 
Kithungulu, Kikuyu 
G. Laschau, Laikipia ; Lanjoro, 
Kapte Plains 

Foot-hills of Laikipia 

Ndoro, Laikipia 



G. Thegu and Kithungulu, Laikipia 

Lake Dumi 

Kenya, Lower Forest Zone 

Kenya, Bamboo Zone 
Cliffs above Lake Losuguta 







Alisma Plantago 


G. Nairotia, Laikipia 


Aponogeton abyssinicum 


Second Swamp, Kikuyu 

Naias graminea 




Eriochloa annulata 


Banks of G. Tigirish, nr. Njemps 

,, ,, va>\ nov. 

Tanganyika, W. end of Sabaki 

Panicum brizanthum 


Ndoli, Iveti Mts. 

, , fenestratum 


Ndara ; Ngomeni 

,, controversum 


G. Nagut and G. Tigirish, Rift Valley 

,, scalarum 


Njemps Mkuba ; Kikuyu Scarp of 
Rift Valley 

,, Schimperianum 



, , curvatum 


Second Stockade, Sabaki 

,, maximum 


Kau, nr. Witu 

,, colonum 


G. Mairi, W. foot of Kenya 

,, Crus-galli 


Mwatchi, nr. Mombasa 

Trichol?ena rosea 


Njoro Larabwal and Gopo lal 
Mwaru, Laikipia 

,, £/: ,, 


Hombe, Kikuyu 

■Paspalum scrobiculatum 


,, ,, 

Setaria glauca 


G. Nagut, Rift Valley ; Foot-hills of 
Kamasia and Laikipia 

„ cf. „ 


Mwatchi, nr. Mombasa ; Nzaoi, 
Iveti Mts. 

Pennisetum ciliare 


Njoro Larabwal, Laikipia ; Steppes 
of Thika-thika 

,, setosum 

A. Rich. 

Mkonumbi ; Kau 

Tragus racemosus 


Njemps ; Foot-hills of Kamasia 

Perotis latifolia 



Imperata arundinacea 



Andropogon Sorghum 


Shore of Baringo 

,, Isch^mum 


Larabwal, nr. Njemps 

,, polyatherus 



,, finitimus 


Larabwal, nr. Njemps 

Themeda Forskalii 


,, ,, 

,, ,, vai: punc- 


Kapte Plains 


Sporobolus virginicus 



, , marginatus 



,, spicatus 


Kariandusi, Rift Valley 

,, indicus 

R. Br. 

Larabwal, nr. Njemps 

Aristida coerulescens 



Trichopterix n. sp. 

Lake Losuguta, Laikipia 

Cynodon Dactylon 


Mkonumbi ; Kariandusi 

Chloris abyssinica 


G. Murentat, Rift Valley 

,, punctulata 


Nzaoi, Iveti Mts. 






Chloris barljata 


G. Tigirish, Njemps 

Eleusine aegyptiaca 


G. Tigirish and G. Nagut, Rift Valley; 

,, coracana 


Maka, Iveti Mts. 

Leptochloa filiformis 

R. and S. 


Phragmites communis 


Lugard's Falls, Sabaki Valley 

Danthonia villosa {vel var. ) 


Lower Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Eragrostis ciliaris 


Kau ; Ngomeni 

,, tenuifolia 


Kithungidu, Kikuyu 

,, cf. paniciformis 

R. Br. 

Lake Losuguta 

,, Brownei 



, , megastachya 


G. Nagut and G. Tigirish, Rift 


Podocarpus, aff. Mannii 

Hook. fil. 

Bamboo Zone, Kenya 


Davallia Lindeni 


East of Kariandusi 

Adiantum caudatum 



Cheilanthes multifida 



, , Kirkii 


Alng'aria and G. Nairotia, Laikipia 

Pellrea involuta 


Kapte Plains ; Second Swamp, 

,, hastata 


Ndi, Taita Mts. ; G. el Narua, nr. 
Njemps ; G. Thegu, Laikipia 

Pelliea calomelanos 


Kapte Plains ; Larabwal, nr. Njemps 

Pteris aquilina 


Kithungulu, Kikuyu ; Mbololo and 
Ndi, Iveti Mts. 

Asplenium furcatum 


Kariandusi, Rift Valley ; Alng'aria, 
Laikipia ; Lower Alpine Zone, 

,, ceterach 



Actiniopteris radiata 


Ndara ; Kinani ; Kikuyu ; Larab- 
wal, nr. Njemps 

Nephrodium dilatatum 


Kilungu, Iveti Mts. 

Polypodium lepidotum 


Kapte Plains ; Bamboo Zone, Kenya 

By a. Gepp, M.A., F.L.S. 


Leucobryum cucullatum 
Leptodontium repens 




Localities where collected. 

G. Nairotia, Laikipia 
Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 

1 By William Carruthers, Esq., F. R.S. 

Kilima Njaro 



Grimmia calyculata 
Macromitrium lilipu- 

Funaria calvescens 

Breutelia gigantea 

Orthodon borbonicus 

Bryum pseudotriquetrum 
Braunia Schimperi 

Lasia producta 

Pterogonium gracile 
var. capense 

Pilotrichella (Orthosti- 

chella) sericea 
Papillaria africana 

,, patentissima 
Neckera (Rhystophyl- 
lum) Hoehneliana 
Calyptothecium afri- 

Entodon rotundifolius 

,, lacunosus 
Hypnuiii cupressiforme 


Jungermannia (Chandon- 
anthus) hirtella 

Fimbriaria Boryana 


Localities where collected. 







Cladonia pyxidata 
Cladina rangiferina 
Ramalina canaliculata 

C. M. 


Uoz. and 

Br. and 



C. M. 


C. M. 


C. M. 






Lower Alpine Zone, Kenya 
G. Narok, Laikipia 

Second Stockade, Sabaki Valley 

E. of Mt. Mangea, Giriama ; 

Kurawa, Khilifi River 
Bamboo Zone, Kenya 

G. Nairotia, Laikipia 
Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Rangatan Ndari, Laikipia ; G. 
Nairotia, Laikipia 

Lari lal Morjo, Laikipia ; Mar- 

ungu. Steppes of Kiroruma 
Middle of Bamboo Zone, Kenya 

Lari lal Morjo and G. Laschau, 
Laikipia ; Marungu, Steppes 
of the Kiroruma 
G. Thegana, Kikuyu 
Lower Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Snowfields, Kenya 

G. Thegana, Kenya 

Rangatan Ndari, Laikipia ; G. 
Nairotia, Laikipia 

Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Rangatan Ndari and G. Nai- 
rotia, Laikipia 

Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya ; 
Kurawa, Khilifi River 

Snowfields, Kenya 
Kurawa, Khilifi River 
Gopo lal Mwaru, Laikipia 

2 D 


Kilima Njaro 

Bourbon, Java 




.S. Africa 

S. Africa 


E. and 


S. and E. 

Kilima Njaro 




E. Africa ; 

Oceania ; 

S. America 

E. Africa, 








Localities where collected. 


Ramalina fraxinea var. 


G. Thegana and Karati, Kikuyu ; 
Lower Falls of the Thika- 
thika ; Maka, Iveti Hills ; E. 
of Mt. Mangea, Giriama 


,, pusilla 

Le Prev. 

Kibwezi ; Rangatan Ndari and 

Africa, Java, 

G. Nairotia, Laikipia ; G. 


Thegana, Kikuyu ; Upper 

Alpine Zone, Kenya ; Falls 

of the Thika-thika; Ndoli, 

Iveti Mts. ; E. of Mangea, 


Roccella Montagnei 


Common all along Sabaki Valley 

India, Java, 

Usnea florida, var. 


Lari lal Morjo and G. Narok, 



Laikipia ; G. Thegana, Kik- 
uyu ; Upper Alpine Zone, 
Kenya ; Karati, Kikuyu ; 
Falls of Thika-thika ; Sabaki 

Usnea articulata 


G. Thegana, N. Kikuyu ; Lari 
lal Morjo, G. Narok and G. 
Nairotia, Laikipia ; Upper 
Alpine Zone, Kenya 

, , ceratina 


G. Narok and Ndoro, Laikipia ; 
G. Thegana, Kikuyu ; Upper 
Alpine Zone, Kenya 


,, ,, z>ar. aspera 


Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 


Usnea cornuta 


G. Thegana, Kikuyu ; Voroni, 

E. Africa, 

Thika-thika Valley 


,, longissima 


G. Thegana, Kikuyu 


, , angulata 


G. Thegana, Kikuyu ; Upper 
Alpine Zone, Kenya ; Sabaki 


Parmelia caperata 


G. Narok, Laikipia ; G. Mwari, 
Lower Forest Zone, Kenya 


, , perforata 

Sabaki Valley ; Kibwezi and 
Mto Ndangi, Ukamba ; 
Maka and Ndoli, Iveti Mts. ; 
Lari lal Morjo and G. Nairotia, 
Laikipia ; G. Thegana and 
Karati, Kikuyu ; Falls of 
Thika-Thika, Kapte Plains 

,, perlata 


Lower Forest Zone, Kenya, etc. 


,, latissima 


Karati, Kikuyu 

S. Africa, 

,, laevigata 


Kurawa, Khilifi River 


, , physodes var. 


Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 






Localities where collected. 


Stictina limbata 


var. umbiHcariceformis 


Karati, Kikuyu 

Ki li m a 

Sticta aurata 


G. Thegana, Kikuyu 

Tropical and 

Peltigera membranacea 


Karati, Kikuyu 


Physcia flavicans 

D. C. 

Karati and G. Thegana, Kik- 
uyu ; Upper Alpine Zone, 
Kenya ; W. of Falls of Thika- 
thika ; Sabaki Valley 


,, parietina 

de Not. 

Maka, Iveti Mts.; Upper Alpine 
Zone, Kenya 


,, ciliaris 

D. C. 

Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 


, , leucomelas 


Terraces of Lake Suess, Kikuyu 
Scarp ; Gopo lal Mwaru, 
Guaso Narok, and Guaso 
Nairotia, Laikipia ; Guaso 
Thegana and Karati, Kikuyu ; 
Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 

,, speciosa 


Rangatan Ndari, Laikipia 

,, ,, z/ar. hypo- 


11 !J J) 



Pyxine cocoes 


Gopo lal Mwaru and G. Nairotia, 

Tropical Zone 

By Miss A. L. Smith and John B. Carruthers, F.L.S. 



Localities where collected. 



Fomes lucidus 


Ngatana ; E. of Mangea, Giriama 


Schizophyllum com- 


Gopo lal Mwaru, Laikipia 



Polystictus elongatus 




,, Gregorii 

A. L. 


E. of Mangea, Giriama 

, , chrysites 


G. Narok, Laikipia 

and Cape 

, , sanguineus 


Nr. Makongeni, Sabaki Valley 


,, versicolor 


Lugard's Falls, Sabaki Valley 


,, velutinus 






Polystictus versatilis 

Trametes Sprucei 
Stereum hirsutum 

,, lobatum 

Favolus Rhipidium 


Hirneola Auricula- 

Lycoperdon gemmatum 


Xylaria Hypoxylon 
Phyllachora graminis 





Localities where collected. 



E. of Mangea, Giriama 


Rangatan Ndari, Laikipia ; 

G. Narok, Laikipia ; Rangatan 

Ndari, Laikipia ; Upper 

Alpine Zone, Kenya ; Makon- 

geni, Sabaki Valley 
Upper Forest Zone, Kenya 

Upper Forest Zone, Kenya ; 


Batsch. Kibwezi 

Upper Forest Zone, Kenya 
Kapte Plains, W. of Maka 

Tropics, E. 

and W. 


Cuba, Brazil 

Asia, N. and S. 




By C. B. Clarke, F.R.S., Pres.Linn.Soc, etc. 





Kyllinga oblonga 


Cyperus difformis 


,, cylindrica 


,, dichrostachyus 


var. /3 major 

C. B. Clarke 

,, aristatus 


Pycreus flavescens 


,, distans 

Linn. f. 

,, forma Abyssinica 

,, bulbosus 


,, nitens 


,, fissus 


,, Hildebrandtii 

C. B. Clarke 

,, Fenzelianus 


,, debilissimus, j/. ;wj'. 


,, rotundus 


Juncellus laevigatus 

C. B. Clarke 

,, ,, var. spadicea 


,, minutus, sp. nov. 

,, rigidifolius 


Cyperus compactus 


,, exaltatus 


, , Teneriffae 


,, ,, var. dives 

C. B. Clarke 

,, amabilis 


Mariscus leptophyllus 


, , denudatus 

Hook. fil. 

,, concinnus, sp. nov. 

1 The localities have not 
of the species were found in 

been inserted owing to late date of receipt of the hst. 
several localities. 








Mariscus coloratus 


Scirpus costatus 


,, psilostachys,i:/.W(7Z'. 

,, quinquefarius 

Buch. Ham. 

,, globifer, sp. nov. 


,, corymbosus 


,, maritimus, sp. nov. 

Bulbostylis capillaris 


,, hemisphjericiis 

C. B. Clarke' 

var. trifida 

C. B. Clarke 

,, Gregorii, sp. nov. 

Bulbostylis Schimperiana 


Courtoisia cyperoides 


Fuirena glomerata 


var. /3 Africana 

C. B. Clarke 

,, ,, z'ar. ^Andongensis 

C. B. Clarke 

Eleocharis marginulata 


Lipocarpha pulcherrima 


Fimbristylis diphylla 


Scleria bulbifera 

A. Rich. 

,, monostachya 

Hassk. 1 

Carex monostachya 


,, exilis 

Roem. &Sch. 

,, Koestlini 


Scirpus setaceus 

L. 1 

,, .Ethiopica 



By Oldfield Thomas, F.L.S. 



Localities where collected. 


Colobus occidentalis 


Forests on Laikipia, and Kenya 

Herpestes Kaffir 


,, albicaudatus 

G. Guv. 


Galago sp. 


Nyctimonus angolensis 


Golbanti, Tana Valley 

,, pumilus 


Ngatana, Tana Valley 

Erinaceus albiventris 


Wakilomi, in Maka, Iveti Mts. 

Macroscelides rufesceus 



i Lake Kibibi, Rift Valley ; 

Melanic var. 

Crocidura 2 spp. 

) Telphusa Swamp, Laikipia; 

,, gracilicauda 


J Karati and Thiriati, N. 
' Kikuyu 

Sciurus undulatus 



Gerbilus leucogaster 


Ndaro, Taita Mts. 

,, pusillus 


,, ,, 

Otomys irroratus 


Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 

Arvicanthis barbarus 


Thiriati, Kikuyu 

Mus spp. var. 

Fort Smith ; Njemps Ndogo ; 
Ngatana ; Karati and Kithu- 
Uri, N. Kikuyu 

Homo sapiens 


Skulls of Wa- 
kamba dug 
up at Tzavo 

Aulacodus swindere- 




Aulacodus gregorianus 


Guaso Uini, N. Kikuyu 

Hystrix galeata 


Various localities 

Procavia shoana 


Upper Alpine Zone, Kenya 


Equus boehmi 


Thika-thika ; Njemps 

Kobus defassa 



,, ellipsyprymnus 



^pyceros melampus 



Cervicapra arundineum 



^ Most of the remaining zoological collections have been described in separate papers. 
(See App. A, pp. 387-388.') 



[Those which are explained in the context are excluded. The following abbreviations 
are used: Bot. = Botany ; Geol. = Geology ; Hind. = Hindustani ; Mt. = Mountain- 
eering ; Suah. = Kisuahili] 

Agglomerate (GeoL), a volcanic rock com- 
posed of coarse blocks of lava and tuff 

Alluvium (GeoL), a muddy deposit of 
recent age, such as that which forms 
river deltas and plains of rivers 

Andesite (Geol. ), a lava, intermediate in 
character between basalt and trachyte. 
There are many varieties. The name was 
given to them owing to their abundance 
in the Andes 

Arete (Mt. ), the ridge leading to the sum- 
mit of a peak 

Askari (Suah.), a sergeant in a caravan of 

Barra (Suah. ), open grass-covered country, 
in contradistinction to cultivated areas 
and forests 

Basalt (Geol.), a lava, dark in colour 
(generally black), heavy in weight, and 
containing a small percentage of silica 

Bergschrund (Mt.), a great crevasse across 
a glacier, generally occurring between 
the unconsolidated snow (or x\€\€) of the 
collecting fields, and the solid ice of the 
lower course 

Boma (Suah.), a stockade or zeriba, gener- 
ally made of thorn bush 

Bwana (Suah.), master 

C^?7(Hind.), a paper, generally meaning 
a cheque or promissory note 

Col (Mt. ), a high mountain pass 

Corrie glacier (Geo!.), a small glacier rest- 
ing on a ledge on a mountain face 

Cw7n (Mt.). a type of valley 

Domo (Suah.), a door, used also liy Zanzi- 
bari for a mountain pass 

Exosmosis (Bot.), the escape of water from 
a cell by gradual passage through its 

Fault (GeoL), a break in the continuity of 
a bed of rock by downward movement 
on one side of a fracture 

Ghee (Hind.), a native butter 

Gneiss (Geol. ), a rock composed of the 
same minerals as granite (viz. quartz, 
felspar, and mica), but in which these are 
arranged in regular layers 

Gopo (Masai), open grass steppes 

Hongo (Suah.), tax levied by a tribe for 
right of passage through their country 

Hornblende (GeoL), a dark - greenish or 
brown mineral, the commonest of the 
amphibole group. It is a constituent of 
syenite, hornblende-schist, etc. 

Igneous (GeoL ), a class of rocks formed at 
high temperature, whether underground, 
such as granite, or on the surface, such 
as lavas 

Jemadar (Hind.), native officer acting as 
adjutant or sergeant-major to Indian 

Kanzu (Suah.), the long robe worn by 

Arabs and better-class Suahili 
Kiringozi (Suah.), the guide of a caravan 
Kiroboto (Suah.), the name of the Arab 

and Beluchi soldiers in the army of the 

Sultan of Zanzibar 

Masika (Suah.), a rainy season 



Mau (Suah. ), a canoe 

Mhogo (Suah.), cassava, the root of native 

Munipara (Siiah. ), a native headman 
Mvita (Suah. ), one of the native names of 

Mombasa. The term means "battle" 

Obsidian (Geol. ), a volcanic glass 

Pegmatite (Geol. ), an igneous rock which 
occurs as dykes 

Permo-CarhoiiiferoHS (Geol.), the period in 
the earth's history in which were de- 
posited the Mountain Limestone, the 
Coal Measures, and the Magnesian Lime- 

Phonolite (Geol.), of "clinkstone," a lava 
the thin slabs of which are resonant when 

Porphyritic (Geol.), a term applied to 
those igneous rocks in which one of the 
constituents occurs in much larger crystals 
than the rest 

Posho (Suah. ), a day's food allowance 

Potiss (Suah.), a native food made of 
boiled flour " 

Quartz (Geol. ), rock crystal, the crystalline 
form of silica, and one of the commonest 
rock-forming minerals 

Qicartzite (Geol.), a rock formed of granu- 
lar quartz, generally formed by the 
alteration of sandstones 

Rhizome (Bot. ), the creeping underground 

stem of a plant 
Roches Mouto7inies (Geol. ), rock surfaces 

which have been rounded by the flow of 

a glacier across them 

Safari (Suah.), a journey or a caravan 
Sanidine (Geol.), a glassy mineral belong- 
ing to the group of felspars found in 
some lavas 

Schist (Geol.), a rock composed of alter- 
nate layers of two different minerals. 
The schists are produced by alteration 
of other rocks ; they are of considerable 
geological antiquity, and are mostly 
(according to some geologists, always) 
of Archean age. 

Sedimetitaiy (Geol.), a grotip of rocks, in- 
cluding those formed by the deposition 
of sediments, such as limestones, clays, 
sandstones, etc. 

Shadda (Suah.), ten strings of beads, a 
Suahili measure of value 

Shale (Geol.), a rock composed of clay, 
which splits readily into flakes 

Shamba (Suah. ), a plantation or cultivated 

Shauri (Suah.), a conference 

Silica (Geol.), a compound of silicon and 
oxygen, which occurs as quartz, flint, 
etc. , and in combination with other 
materials in rocks 

Taejida (Suah.), the order to "start" 
Talus (Geol.), loose, fallen material, that 
collects at the foot of cliffs and in gorges 
Trachyte (Geol.), a lava rich in silica 
Transpiration (Bot.), the evaporation of 

water from the surfaces of leaves 
Traverse ( Mt. ) , a term used in mountain- 
eering for a climb across the face of a 
slope from one ridge to another 
Tuff[(j&o\.), a rock formed of small frag- 
ments of volcanic ashes and lava 

lVasche72zi (Suah.), a term applied by 
Zanzibari to up-country natives. It 
means ' ' savages. " It is sometimes used 
in a more limited sense for a tribe near 

Yambo ( Suah). , the common Suahili 


AiNSWORTH, J., 9, 84, 86, 176, 204, 237, 

347. 348, 350. 376 
Alison, Sir A., 378 
Amalitzky, Prof. Wl. , 229 
Anderson, H. J., 257 
Ascherson, Dr. P. F. A. , 240, 280 
Ashe, Rev. R. P., 316 
Avanchers, Pere L6on des, 327, 332, 355 

Bain, A. G., 213 
Baker, J. G. , 280 

E. G. , 280, 389-392 

Sir S. W., 2, 214, 278, 280, 316 
Baldacci, L. , 214 
Bateman, C. S. L. , 326 
Bates, H. W. , 133, 247, 278 
Battel, Andrew, 325 
Baumann, Oscar, 3, 214, 280, 316 
Beke, C. T., 356 
Bell, Prof. F. Jeffrey, 155 
Benett- Stanford, J., 15, 23, 24, 32, 37, 

41-44, 46, 56, 300 
Bent, J. T., 337 
Beyrich, Prof. H. E. , 214 
Blanford, Dr. W. T. , 214, 238, 245 
Bleek, W. H. I., 334, 355 
Blundell, H. Weld, 242 
Booking, Rev. Herr, 30, 33 
Bonney, Prof. T. G. , 214 
Borelli, Jules, 258, 326 
Boteler, T. , 326 
Boulenger, G. A., 263 
Brehme, 372 
Brenner, R., 368 
Britten, James, 280, 392, 396 
Buckle, H. T. , 317, 360 
Burton, Sir R. F., 2, 7, 52, 135, 213, 214, 

297, 322, 357 
Buxton, Sir T. P., 377 

Cameron, V. L. , 297, 322 
Carruthers, J. B. , 403 

Wm. , 291 , 400 
Carthew, Rev. Mr., 208 

Casati, Major G., 326 

Cecchi, A., 326 

Chanler, Astor, 7, 143, 164, 205, 269 

Charters, Dr. D. , ■]■/, 205, 206, 237, 347, 

Clarke, C. B. , 404 
Cornet, J., 214 
Coryndon, R. T. , 267 
Gumming, Gordon, 265 
Cust, Dr. R. N. , 316 
Czetwertynski, Prince Boris, 301 

Dale, Sir Langham, 322 

Day, F. , 249 

Decken, Baron C. C. von der, 7, 240, 280 

Denhardt, CI., 7, 146 

Dent, C. T., 185 

Dick, A., 206 

Dixon, C. , 247 

Draper, J. W. , 317 

Drummond, Prof. Henry, 2, 298, 343 

Dualla Idris, 358 (PI. XX.) 

Dundas, Capt. F. G. , 164, 166 

Dupont, E. , 324 

Ebert, T. , 214 

Edmonds, Rev. Mr., 31, 63, 65, 368, 370 

Elliot, G. F. Scott, 214, 227, 280, 331, 376 

Ellis, Col. A. B., 331 

Emin Pasha, 143, 214, 284, 326, 332, 356 

Engler, Prof. A., 280, 283 

Erhardt, Rev. J., 316 

Evans, Sir John, 324 

Eyre, A. , 267 

Felkin, Dr. R. W. , 316 

F'ischer, Dr. Gustav, 2, 7, 8, 280, 316, 

328, 342, 353 
Fitzgerald, W. W. A., 44 
Flower, Sir W. H. , 274, 316, 332, 334 
Foa, Edouard, 264 
Fritsch, G. , 333 
Fundi Mabruk, 79, 90, 113, 114, 115, 

124, 148, 173-178, 188 



Gahan, C. J., 274 
Galton, Capt. F., 3 

Gedge, E. , 9, 240, 266, 316, 328, 343 
Geikie, Sir Archibald, 216 
Gepp, A., 290, 400-403 
Gibson, Walcot, 214 
Giraud, Lieut. V., 278 and PI. I. 
Gooch, W. D., 322 
Grant, Col. J. A., 213 
Grenfell, Rev. G. , 326 
Grey, Sir George, 322 
Giinther, Dr. Alb., 80, 155, 239, 248, 249, 
251, 256, 267 

Haacke, Dr. W. , 245 
Hall, Mr., 354 

Hamy, E. F. J., 316, 332, 334 
Harris, G. F. , 229 

Capt. W. C. , 327, 332 
W. H., 16, 30, 32, 37, 41-44, 46, 56, 363 
Hart, H. C. 262 
Hildebrandt, J. M. , 214, 280, 316 
Hobley, C. W., 9, 56, 60, 80, 164, 166, 

173, 209, 230, 301 
Hohnel, Lt. Ludwig von, viii. , 3, 7, 8, 

127, 143, 147, 151, 152, 164, 172, 

200, 205, 214, 242, 266, 270, 280, 

284, 316, 323, 352 
Hooker, Sir Joseph D. , 240, 280 
Hore, Capt. E. C. , 249 
Howorth, Sir H. H., 268 
Hull, Prof. Ed., 253, 257 
Hunter, Capt. F. M., 357 
Hyland, Dr. J. S. , 214 

Ibn Batuta, 52 
lyutha, 196 

Jackson, F. J., 9, 78, 89, 265, 269 

Jephson, A. J. M. , 356 

Johnston, (Sir) H. H. , 240, 280, 298, 316, 

352, 354 
Jousseaume, Dr. , 324 
Junker, Dr. W. , 214, 326 

Keane, Prof. A. H., 317, 334, 335 
Keltie, J. S. , viii., 348 
Kirby, W. F. , 274 
Kirk, Sir John, vii., 280 
Kizizi, 121, 125 

Krapf, Rev. J. L. , viii., 7, 164, 316, 327, 
332. 342, 350, 368 

Lartet, Prof. L. , 257 
Levi^is, Prof. Henry Carvell, 173 
Livingstone, D. , 7, 135, 213, 214, 242 
Lomweri, 125, 131, 133 
Lovatelli, Count G., i6, 23, 32, 38 
Lugard, Capt. F. D. , 9, 72, 86, 91, 214, 
316, 359 

M'Dermott, p. L. , viii. 

Macdonald, Major J. R. L. , 9 « 
Macfarlane, D. , 380, 381 
Mackay, Rev. A. M. , 316 
Mackinnon, Dr. A. D. , 16, 31, 38, 41, 
43-44, 89 

Sir William, 52, 206, 207 
M'Mahon, Gen. C. A., 243 
Macquarie, Mr., 14, 39 
M 'Queen, James, 327 
Madan, Rev. A. C. , 316 
Major, Dr. C. J. Forsyth, 252 
Martin, James, 9, 56, 59, 92, 119, 207 
Mathews, R. H., 334 
Merensky, A., 318, 333 
Meyer, Dr. Hans, viii., 176, 316 
Miles, Capt. S. B., 357 
Moloney, Dr. J- A. , 209 
Muller, C, 280 

J., 280 
Murchison, Sir R. I., 2, 213 
Mwini Mharo, 80, 312-314 

Nathan Nyuki, 190-192 

Nelson, Capt., 84, 91 

New, Rev. Charles, 240, 280, 316, 342, 

Nzibu, 347 

Oldham, R. D. , 245 

Oliver, J. W. , 240, 280 

Omari ben Hamadi, 40, 58, 69, 89, 90, 
93, 100, 102, 115, 148, 150, 157- 
159, 166, 183, 194, 198, 199, 202, 
203, 209, 301, 303, 309 

Oswell, W. C, 265 

Pattison, Mr., T7 

Paulitschke, Dr. Phil, 223, 316, 325, 328, 

Penning, W. H. , 322 
Peters, Dr. K., 9, 147, 164, 316 
Petherick, J. and B. H., 248 
Piepers, C. , 274 
Piggott, J. R. W., 9, 13, 43, 59, 164, 

173, 214, 298, 381 
Portal, Sir G., 78, 80, 81, 364 
Pringle, Major J. W. , 9 
Purkiss, J., 91-93 

Quatrefages, Prof A. de, 316, 326 

Rae, Dr., 18, 23, 370 

Ramathan Aperti, 75, 159, 330 

Rankine, D. J., 316 

Ratzel, Prof. F. , 316, 333, 335 

Ravenstein, E. G. , 153, 164, 200, 348 

Reade, Winwoode, 322 

Rebmann, J., 7, 164 

Reinish, Prof. L. , 326, 359 

Rendle, A. B. , 280, 290, 396, 397-400 

Richard, A. , 280 

Richthofen, Baron F. von, 216 



Rigby, C. P., 325, 327, 332 

Rogers, Capt. A. S. , 14, 378 

Rohlfs, Dr. G. , 242 

Rose, Gustav, 214 

Rosiwal, Dr. A., 214 

Roth, R. , 214 

Roy, Prof. C. S. , 187 

Sadebeck, a., 214 

Sanderson, J- . 322 

Schlechter, Dr. R., 274 

Schleicher, Dr. A. W. , 357 

Schlichter, Dr. H. , 316, 325,326, 332 

Schweinfurth, Prof. G. , 214, 280, 290, 

316, 325, 326 
Sclater, Dr. P. L., 238, 267 
Scott, Prof. W. B. , 247 
Seton-Karr, H. W. , 324 
Sharpe, Dr. R. B. , 241, 276 
Sheldon, M. French, 316 
Sherifu ben Abdullah, 337-339 
Smith, Andrew, 265 

Miss A. L. , 403-404 

Dr. A. Donaldson, 258 

E. A., 251 

Major Eric, 9, 8g, 92, 107, 143, 207 

J. Bell, 19, 45, 237, 370 
Sokoni, 143 
Speke, Capt. John Henry, 2, 7, 135, 213, 

214, 316, 356 
Stairs, Capt. W. G., 209, 280 
Stanley, H. M. , 2, 214, 249, 303, 316, 

326, 331, 347, 359, 376 
Steere, Rev. Ed., 316 
Stephani, F. , 280 
Stuhlmann, Dr. Fr. , 143, 214, 240, 280, 

316, 326, 331, 332, 351 
Suess, Prof. E. , 9, 214, 215, 220, 231, 
232. 252, 375 

Tate, Prof. A. W., 376 
Taylor, Rev. W. E., 51, 

Teall, J. J. r., 228 

280, 316, 

Teleki, Count Samuel, 3, 7, 8, 57, 84, 147, 

163, 165, 171, 240, 241, 265, 266, 

280, 308, 359 
Tenne, C. A., 214 
Thomas, Oldfield, 406 
Thompson, R. Bird, 14, 23, 26, 28, 164, 

173. ^77, 328, 337, 339, 343, 345, 

356. 370 
Thomson, Jos. , viii. ,3, 7, 8, 57,65,66, 95, 

119, 124, 127, 129, 135-136, 146, 

152, 153. 154. 165, 214, 249, 280, 

297. 316, 354, 355 
Thornton, R. , 214, 228 
Tichborne, Sir H., 15, 18, 20, 22, 32, 

41, 42 
Tiedemann, Lieut, von, 164 
Tinto, Serpo, 333 
Toula, Dr. F., 214 
Tristram, Canon H. B. , 261, 262 
Tutschek, C. , 328 

VOLKENS, Dr. G., 240 

Wadi Hamis (Kiringozi), 104, 124, 128- 

129, 134, 311 
Wadi Sadi, 170 
Wakefield, Rev. T., 7, 316 
Wallace, Dr. A. Russell, 245 
Wasama, Aja Achmet, 23, 38, 41, 358 

(PI. XX.) 
Watson, Mr., jj, 79, 206, 273 
Weaver, Mr., 45 
Werner, J. R., 278 
Whymper, Ed., 185-187, 243, 247 
Williams, Major, 107, 119, 143, 232, 357 
Willoughby, Sir J. , 56 
Wilson, Rev. C. T. , 316 

Sir C. W. , 362 

George, 72, 91, 206, 365, 377 
Wissmann, Major H. von, 214, 326 
Wolf, L. , 214, 326 
Wood, Sir Evelyn, 302 
Wiirtz, Rev. F., 33, 328, 339, 343, 344, 345 

ZiTTEL, Prof. K. von, 242 



Ababa Mts. , 223 

Abbaja, L. , 258 

Aberdare Mts. (see Settima), 152-154 

Abyssinia, 223, 240, 248, 259-262, 291, 

Afar, 259, 260 

Akiluma (39.42 E., 3.28 S.), 208 
Albert Nyanza, or Mwutan Nzige (31.0 E., 

2.0 N. ), 2, 232, 233, 258-259, 284, 326 
Alng'aria(36.2o E. , o. 10 N.), 151 
Andes, 242, 247 
Arabah Wadi, 256-258, 259 
Athi (38. 22 E. , 3. o s. ), 9, 90, 200, 202, 248 

Barderah (42.20 E. , 2.18 N.), 7 
Baringo, L. (36.6 E. , 0.43 N.), 2, 127, 

136, 232, 236, 258, 260, 265, 266, 278, 

288, 326 
Basso Ebor=L. Stephani (37.0 E., 4J.0 

N.), 3. 8 
Basso Narok = L. Rudolf (36.0 E., 3.0 N.), 

2, 8, 9, 131, 231, 232, 233, 242, 258, 

Bechuanaland, 242, 333 
Belezoni Canal (40.20 E., 2.33 S. ), 31 
Blantyre, 372 

Bondoni (37.16 E., 1.40 S. ), 364 
Boo, El, or Baro (see Baringo), 332 
Borabini, or Golbanti (40.8 E., 2.28 s. ), 

31. 34. 44. 284 
Borana (38.0 E., 4.0 N. ), 13, 17 
Bura Mts. (38.21 E. , 3.24 S. ), 223 
Burnt Island, 357 
Butchuma (39.1 E. , 3.44 S. ), 67 
Bwinzau (37-53 E., 2.17 s.), 79, 223 

Changabuba (37.13 E., 0.48 S. ), 198, 224 
Chanjavi (37.16 E. , 1.9 S. ), 200, 202 
Chanjega (37.8 E. , 0.44 s.), 196 
Charra(40. 18 E. , 2.33 S. ), 31, 284 
Chibchangnani (35.27 E. , 0.56 N.), 131, 

Chimborazo, 242, 243 
Comstock, 375 

Congo, 214, 228, 324, 326, 376 
Coroa Mombaza (39.42 E. , 3.59 s. ), 208 
Cyprus, 223 

Dagoreti (36.41 E., 1. 14 s.), 73, 91 

Darwin Glacier (37.29 E., 0.14 s. ), 173 

Dibbe (40.8 E. , 2.20 s. ), 33 

Dika. See Thika-thika 

Doenyo lol Daika (37. 10 E. , 0.20 N. ), 146, 

Dondole Mts. (36.21 e., 0.20 S. ), 108 
Drakenberg Mts., 223 
Dsundsa (40.5 E., 2.24 s. ), 34 
Dufil^, 284 
Duruma country (39.25 E. , 3.55 s. ), 64 

Egeri, Doenyo = Kenya, 142 

Eiassi, L. , 3 

Elgeyo (35.35 E., 0.40 N.), 125 

Elgon (m. ) (34.36 E., 0.56 N.), 9, 233, 

240, 259, 290 
Elmetaita (36.16 E. , 0.25 s. ), 107, 108 
Equator Peak (36.5 E., o. ), 109 
Erythrean R. , 258-259 
Esdraelon Gap, 253, 256 
Etwa (37.32 E., 1.45 S.), 83 

FoREL Glacier (37.29 e., 0.14 s.), 173, 

Fort Smith (36.44 e., 1.15 s. ), 91-93 
Freretown (39.42 E. , 4.3 s. ), 208, 381 
Fuladoya (39.39 e. , 3.25 s. ), 208 

Cameroon Mts., 240, 326 
Cape of Good Hope, 242, 243 
Ceylon, 245 
Chamgamwe (39.38 E., 4.2 S.), 222 

1 Owing to the confusion existing in respect to East African geographical names, the longitude 
and latitude of localities in British East Africa is given. It is hoped that the list will thus be of use 
as a contribution to a complete index of British East African place-names. In the case of rivers 
the latitude and longitude are given either for the mouth (m.) or for the principal ford (f.) 



Fungozanibo (40.39 E. , 2.20 S. ), 21, 23 

Geitaita (37.6 E., 0.36 s. ), 190, 192 
Gilgil R. (36.24 E., 0.36 s. ), 106, 107, 

Giriama (39.45 E., 3.30 S.), 207-208, 280 
Givoni (37.22 E. , 1.39 s. ), 85 
Golbanti (40.8 e., 2.28 s.), 31, 371 
Gonjeni (39.34 e., 3.58 s.j, 63 
Goyito, 152-154 

Heim Glacier (37.29 e. , 0.145.), 173, 

Himalaya, 243, 245 
Hobley Valley (37.31 E., 0.14 S. ), 173, 

Hohnel, Mount (37.28 e. , 0.16 s.), 172- 

Hohnel, Lake and Valley, 173 

Igeti (37.4 e. , 0.56 s.), 364 
Ilyaini R. (ni. ) (37.26 e., 0.44 s. ), 195 
India, Central and S. , 234, 245, 261 
Ithamba (37.14 e. ,.,0. 56 s.J, 224 
luni (37.20 e., 1. 41 s.), 205 
Iveti Mts. (37.20 E., 1.40 s.), 81-86, 205, 
224, 227, 289, 347 

JALUD, 25s 

Java, 245 

Jilore (39.50 E., 3.8 s.), 277 

Jordan R. , 249, 256, 259, 260-262 

Juba R. , 7 

Kahamisi (39.38 E. , 3.9 s. ), 208 
Kajabe (36.35 E. , 0.53 S. ), 97 
Kakuak Mts., 258 
Kamasia (35.47 E., 0.28 N.), 110, 120, 

136-138, 231 
Kamasia, L. (extinct), 235 
Kambu R. (38.3 E. , 2.34 S. ), 206 
Kapte Plains (37.0 E., 1.20 s.), 88-91, 

205, 215-218, 224, 230, 266, 270, 323 
Karagwe (31.15 E., 2.0 .s. ), 228, 234 
Karati (37.4 E., 0.34 S. ), 196 
Kariandusi R. (f. ) (36.19 E., 0.27 s. ), 

107, 108 
Karroo, 229 

Karthuri (37.4 E. , 0.49 S.), 158 
Kasai, 326 

Kau (40.28 E. , 2.28 s. ), 20, 32, 368 
Kavaluki (37.21 E., 1.24 s. ), 203, 348 
Kedong, Guaso (36.35 e., 1.5 s.), 94, 232, 

233. 323 
Kenya Mt. (37.30 E. , 0.14 S. ), 7, 8, 151, 

162-188, 224, 232, 235, 240, 243-244, 

267, 272, 283, 290, 291, 294, 296, 332 
Kibibi, L. (36.10 e. , 0.4 N.), 109, 323 
Kibo, 78, 233 

Kiboko, Mt. (37.44 E., 2.12 S.), 80, 364 
Kibwezi (37.56 E. , 2.25 S. ), 76-78, 205, 

224, 273, 371 

Kikumbuliyu (38.0 E. , 2.30 s.), 76, 233, 

Kikuyu (36. 50 E. , i.o s. ), 91-93, 220, 232, 

271, 276, 283, 285, 323, 351 
Kilima Njaro (m. ), 7, 78, 163-164, 176, 

224, 233, 235, 240, 241, 243, 272, 280, 

291, 294, 296, 372 
Kilindini (40.0 E. , 4.4 s.), 51, 55 
Kilolimia= Upper Tana (37.30 E. , 0.40 

s.), 199 
Kilungu (37.30 E., 1.4s s. ), 81-83 
Kinangop (36.30 E. , 0.40 S. ), 152-154 
Kinani (38.16 E. , 2.47 s. ), 75, 207 
Kipini (40.30 E., 2.32 S. ), 20 
Kirimanda R. (m.) (40.28 E. , 2.29 S.), 32 
Kirorurna R. = Kiloluma, 199 
Kisauni = Frereto\vn, 237, 285 
Kismayu (42.40 E., 0.15 s. ), 13, 14 
Kithunguli (37.6 E., 0.41 S. ), 195 
Kithu-Uri (37.13 E., 0.47 S. ), 196 
Kitui, in Ukamba (38.6 E. , i.o S. ), 163 
Kitui, in Kikuyu (37.7 E. , 0.43 S. ), 196 
Koma (37.15 E. , 1. 18 s. ), 88 
Kornu (37.4 E. , 0.38 S. ), 196 
Kulall Mt. (36.40 E., 2.35 N. ), 224 
Kurawa (40.8 E., 2.40 s. ), 273 
Kvvazome (37.24 E., 1.38 s. ), 85, 227 
Kyulu Mts. (37.50 E., 2.40 s. ), 81, 233, 


L.'\DO, 233, 259, 284 

Lagobuya, L. (39.44 e., 3.10 s.), 208 

Laikipia (37.30 e. , o. ), 9, 146-156, 161- 

162, 184, 218, 231, 266, 268, 280, 288, 

Lamu (40. 54 E. , 2. 16 S. ), 13-15, 285, 337, 

Larabwal (36.15 E., 0.20 N.), 149 
Lari lol Morjo (36.25 e. , 0.8 N.), 151 
Latuk Mts. , 258 
Leadville, 375 
Lebanon, 259 

Lekakisera (34.36 E. , 1.30 N.), 233 
Levant, 252 

Lewis Glacier (37.30 E., 0.14 s.), 173, 177 
Loango, 325 

Lobat (36.4 E. , 0.40 N. ), 131, 323 
Lokenya (37.5 E. , 1.29 s. ), 88, 202 
Lolbogo (36.8 E., 0.20 N'.), 134 
Loldibo Mt. (36.45 E. , 2.6 N.), 224 
Longari, Doenyo (36.57 E. , 0.29 S. ), 156 
Longeyu lol Mwaru (36.21 E. , 0.14 .\.), 

Longonot Mt. (36.27 E., 0.54 s. ), 94, 97- 

98, 233, 235 
Lorian, L. (39.25 E. , 1.0 x. ) 7 
Loroghi Mts. (36.34 E. , 1.0 N.), 146, 224 
Losuguta, L. (36.8 E., 0.15 N.), 7, lio- 
ns. 269, 323 
Lubikwe, Doenyo (35.44 E., 0.32 N.), 137 
Lugurumut, Doenyo (36.6 E., 0.16 N.), 



Luiji Reru (37.5 E., 0.35 s. ), 190 
Lukrum (36.7 E., 0.31 N.), 127 

Machakos (37. 18 E., 1. 31 s. ), 86, 204, 

227, 348, 371 
Madagascar, 229 
Magarini Hills (40.0 E. , 3.4 s. ), 45, 229, 

Magogoni R. (40.28 E. , 2.28 s. ), 26 
Mait, 357 

Maji Chumvi (39.26 E. , 3.52 S. ), 65 
Maji Moto (36.5 E., 0.20 N. ), 116 
Maka (37.20 E. , 1.49 s.), 205, 348, 364 
Makongeni (39.36 E. , 3.8 S. ), 207 
Makupe (39.40 E. , 4. 2 s. ), 60 
Malay Peninsula, 245 
Malewa (36.26 E. , 0.40 s. ), 105 
Malili (37.15 E., 1^44 S.), 202 
Mambrui (40.7 E. , 3.6 s. ), 45, 31B, 378 
Manda I. (40.56 E. , 2.16 S. ), 15, 346 
Mangea Mt. (39.40 E. , 3.16 .s. ), 208 
Manyara, 3 

Maranga (37.10 E., 0.44 s. ), 192, 196 
Marareni, 44, 285 

Marmanett Berge (36.24 E., o. 10 N. ), 151 
Maseras or Gonjeni (39.34 E. , 3.58 s. ), 63 
Mashonaland, 337 

Masongaleni (38.0 E. , 2.32 S. ), 76, 347 
Mataliko (Kambu) (38.3 E. , 2.34 s.), 206 
Matthews Mts. (37.20 e. , 1.30 N. ), 224 
Matumbato, 74, 363 
Mau (36.5 E., 0.30 s.), 220, 283, 290 
Maungu (33.46 E. , 3.39 S. ), 67-68 
Mawenzi, 235 

Mavviza Matattu (38.52 E. , 3.39 s. ), 68 
Mbololo or Ndi Mt. (38.28 E. , 3.23 s. ), 

Melindi (40.6 E. , 3.12 s. ), 24, 378 
Merifano (40.1 E. , 2.18 s. ), 264, 363 
Meru Mt. , 8 

Mesuri (35.47 E. , 1.25 n. ), 131 
Meza, Kilima (36.22 E. , 0.25 s.), 108 
Mkindu R. (37.47 E., 2.16 S.), 78-80 
Mkonumbi (40.44 E. , 2.18 S. ), 15, 18, 

Mombasa (39.40 e., 4.3 s.), 45-61; 

history of, 51-55, 208, 227, 229, 280, 

281, 298, 375 
Mossaro, 326 
Mothambi R. (37.15 E. , 0.48 s. ), 197, 

Motito Wakalia (38.8 E. , 2.42 s. ), 207 
Mtoto \va Ande (38.8 e., 2.41 S. ), 76, 206 
Mudoleto R. (36.8 E. , 0.20 s. ), 134 
Mumoni (37.50 E., 0.40 S. ), 80, 347 
Murendat R. (36.26 E., 0.40 s.), 105 
Musaniya R. (33.0 E., 1.30 N. ), 232 
Muwali, Wadi el, 254-255 
Mvita = Mombasa, 52 
Mwachi R. (39-31 E., 3.56 S. ), 363 
Mwaiba, or Kamlekeni (39.40 e. , 3.34 S. ), 


Mwangudo R. (39.39 £., 3.27 s. ), 208 
Mwaru, Doenyo lol (36.19 E., 0.15 N.), 

Nagut, Guaso (m. ) (36.15 e. , 0.24s.), 

Nairobi, Guaso (f. ) (36. 58 E. , o. 32 S. ), 157 
Nairotia (36.38 e. , 0.14 s. ), 329 
Naivasha, L. (36.24 e. , 0.44 s). , 28, 98- 

104, 154, 231, 233, 258, 265, 363 
Nakuro, L. (36.9 E. , 0.20 s. ), 107 
Nandi Mts. (34.40 E. , 0.20 N. ), 227 
Narok, Guaso (36.30 E., o. i s.), 152-154 
Narol Gwinia (36.46 E. , 0.20 S.), 155 
Narua, Guaso el (36.18 E. , 0.16 N. ), 149 
Natron, L. , 28 
Ndara (38.33 e., 3,32 s.), 68 
Ndawi, 206 

Ndeo (38.9 E., 1. 15 s.), 44 
Ndi Mt. (38.28 E., 3.22 .s. ), 69-71 
Ndoro (37.5 E. , 0.20 S. ), 161, 163 
Ndovv R. (36.0 E., 0.30 N. ), 127 
Ngai, Doenyo, 8, 235 

Ngao (40.8 E., 2.24 s. ), 30, 33, 229, 278 
Ngatana(40. 1 E. , 2.14 s.), 27-30, 35-44, 

190, 265, 275, 277, 299 
Ngomeni (38.22 E. , 2.36 s. ), 207 
Ngongo Bagas (36.42 E. , 1.18 .s. ), 351 
Ngu (37.27 E., 2.3 s.), 81 
Ngusagari (36.10 E., 0.24 N. ), 148 
Nianam R. , 258 
Nile, 233, 235, 248, 255, 258-259, 260- 

Njemps Mdogo (36.4 E. , 0.31 N.), 117- 

125, 134, 136, 138-145, 265, 354 
Njemps Mkubwa (36.3 E., 0.35 N.), 126 
Njoro Larabwal (36.14 E. , 0.22 N. ), 149 
Nyasa, L. , 2, 231, 248 
Nyika (39.0 E. , 3.0 S. ), 64 
Nyiri, L. (38.10 E., 2.34 S. ), 74, 363 
Nyiro, or Nyuri, Guaso (36.50 e. , 0.26 s. ), 

154. 155 
Nyuki, Doenyo (36.34 e., i.os.), 95, 233, 

Nyuki, Guaso (m. ) (36.8 e., 0.28 N.), 144 
Nzaoi (37.32 E., 1.55 s. ), 81, 205, 348, 


Omo R. and Valley, 258-259 
Ongalea Mts. (38.10 e. , 3.0 S. ), 223 
Ozi R. (m. ) (40.30 E., 2.32 s. ), 26, 31- 
32, 277, 368 

Palestine, 231, 251-255, 260-262 
Pangani, 21 

Paragara R. (36.10 E. , 0.25 N. ), 148 
Patta I. (41.10 E., 2.0 S. ), 337 
Pemba (39.45 E., 5.0 S.), 346 
Phonolite Cvvm (37.27 E., 0.15 s. ), 173 
Point Piggott (37.29 E. , 0.13 S. ), 181 
Poroporo (39.41 E., 3.24 s.), 208 
Port Reitz (39.37 E., 4.3 S.), 55 



Rangatan Busi (36.20 E., 0.15 s. ), 155 

Rangatan Ndari (36.32 E., 0.12 S. ), 155 

Rangatan Nyuki (35.25 E., 0.30 N. ), 224 

Red Sea, 258, 262 

Rhodes I., 252 

Rib6 (39.39 E., 3.54 S.), 208 

Ruwenzori Mt. , 108, 143, 227, 240 

Sabaki R. (m. ), g, 207, 228, 229, 248-276, 

284, 325, 375 
Salisbury, L. (34.0 e. , 1.24 n.), 232 
Salt R., 8i 

Sat6, El, 256, 257, 259 
Semliki Valley (30.0 E. , i.o N.), 235 
Settima Mt. (36.34 E. , 0.36 S.), 7, 146, 

152-154, 184, 189, 235, 272 
Sheila (40.54 E. , 2.17 s. ), 13 
Shimba Mts. (39.30 e. , 4.10 s. ), 55, 64 
Shoa, 327 
Sinai, 261-262 

Sinikunibe (39.44 E., 3.23 s. ), 208 
Snake R. , 215 

Sobat Pass (36.4 E. , 0.40 N. ), 323 
Sofala, 229 

Sokoki (39.44 E. , 3.24 s. ), 208 
Somaliland, 229, 259, 261, 262, 265, 324, 

Somite, 33 
Soudan, 242, 336 
Subugu (36.22 E., 0.6 s.), 146, 151, 154, 

Suess, L. , 232, 233, 235 
Suez, 251 

Sukut (36.20 E., 1.40 N.), 128, 146 
Summuran (36.10 E. , 0.24 N. ), 134 
Suswa, Doenyo (36.25 E. , s. ), 94, 


Taita Mts. (38.30 e., 3.30 s. ), 9, 68, 

223, 247, 289 
Tana R. , 9, 27-32, 36, 198-200, 248, 276, 

277, 284, 342, 373 
Tanganyika, L. , 2, 5, 248, 249, 296 
Taro (39.11 E. , 3.46 s. ), 65-66, 227, 228 
Teleki Valley and Ridge and Tarns, 171- 

172, 175 

Teleki Volcano (36.20 E., 2.16 n. ), 235 
Thegu, Guaso (37.2 E. , 0.25 s. ), i6i 
Thelphusa Swamp (36.32 E. , 0.14 s. ), 

155. 329 
Thika-thika R. (m.) (37.25 E., 0.44 S. ), 

199, 265, 266, 271 
Thiriati (37.8 e. , 0.44 s. ), 196 
Tigirish R. (36.3 e. , 0.35 N.), 126 
Tuntum, 193, 195 

Turquell R. (35.16 E., 2.0 N.), 232, 258 
Tututha (37.21 E., 1.38 s.), 85 
Two Tarn Col (37.28^ E., 0.14 s. ), 180 
Tyndal Glacier (37.29 E. , 0.14 s. ), 173, 

Tzavo (38.28 E. , 3.1 S.), 73, 207, 375 

UiNi, Guaso (37.6 e., 0.35 s. ), 192 

Ujiji, S 

Ukamba, (38.0 e., i.os.), 285, 347 

Ukamba, German E. Africa, 347 

Unyamwezi, 296 

Ururi, 152, 154 

Usambara, 283 

Usoga, 376 

Victoria Nyanza, 3, 231, 233, 250, 258- 

Voi R. (38.33 E., 3.8 ,s.), 69 
Voroni (37.25 e., 1.6 s.), 198, 200 
Vuju (40.1 E., 2.14 S.), 27, 35-44, 284 

Wadelai, 233, 259 

Wa-kilome (37.20 E., 1.49 s.), 205 

Warabo Valley (39.40 e. , 3.30 s.), 208 

Wasagu, 346 

Weweini (36.10 E. , 0.52 N. ), 131 

White Mts., 242 

Witu (40.30 E., 2.22 s. ), 18-26, 33, 374 

Yatta, or Ndungu (38. 30 E. , 2.40 s. ), 68 
Yosemite Canon, 220 

Zambezi R. , 248, 326, 333 

Zimbabwe, 337 

Zuai Lakes, 258 

Zuni (37.28 E., 1.43 s.), 85, 227 

2 E 


Abyssinians, i6, 40, 41, 359-361 
Alpine flora — 

methods of distribution of, 241-242, 
245. 246 

of Elgon, 240 

of Kenya, 169, 241, 291 

of Kilima Njaro, 240 

of Ruwenzori, 240 
Alpine zone, 291 
Antelope, sable, 67 

Madoqua, 116 

shooting, 139 
Anthropology of British East Africa — 

Bantu races, 356-351 

circumcision, 351. 352 

classification of African races, 322 

colonisation, 337 

influence of climatic and geological con- 
ditions, 316-320 

literature, note on, 316 

migrations in East Africa, 362-369 

miscegenation and hybrid races, 319 

Negrillo races, 325-334 

Negro races, 334-351 

Negroid races, 351-356 

prehistoric races, 322-325 

stone implement-using people, 322-325 

See also Abyssinians, Galla, Kikuyu, 
Masai, Njempsians, Pygmy races, 
Somali, Suahili, Wa-giriama, Wa- 
kamba, Wanderobbo, Wa-pokomo, 
Arabs, wish to buy cartridges, 122 

introduce fruit-trees, 286 

their sense of truth, 123-124 

train Zanzibari, 296 

suffer by suppression of slavery, 379 

Bamboo zone, 290 

jungles of, on Kenya, 167 
Bantu, distribution of, 335 

group based on language, 336 
Barometer, a useful, 92 
Beheading of river valleys, 250, 253-254 
Belezoni Canal, 31-32 

Birds, of mountain summits, 241, 276 
of Tana Valley, 276 
destroyed by drought, 276 
Borabini, Methodist mission at, 31 ; alarm 

at, 34 
Botany — 

collections of plants, list of, 389-405 
flora of British East Africa, 280-295 ; 
general characters of, 281-282 ; de- 
fences adopted by, 292-293 
general distribution, 283-292 
influence of geology on, 294-295 
literature of, 230 
of coast plains, 281, 283-285 
of foot-hills, 286 
of mountain forest zone, 290 
of Nyika, 286-289, 295 
See also Alpine flora. Bamboo, Bracken, 
Casuarina, Dragon-tree, Euphorbias, 
Groundsels, Lobelias, Mangroves, 
Bracken on Mt. Ndi, 71 
Bridge built, 115 

British East Africa, exploration of, 7-9 
British East African Company, 54, 55 
British East African Association, 54 
Brussels Convention, 122 
Buffalo, former abundance of, 265 
destroyed by disease, 266 
seen by author, 265 
Bushmen, affinities of, 333-334 

drawing of Burchell's rhinoceros by, 

Cairns, ancient, 325 
Camels, character of, 37 
Camp regulations at night, 75 
Casuarina (she-oak), 237, 2B5 
Cattle-plague, 139, 266 
Clicks, 328, 331 
Climate, 370-372 

changes in African, 242, 244 - 246, 

death-rate, 370-371 

of East Africa, 62 



Colobus monkey, 166 ; use of its colora- 
tion, 272 

Coloration, influence of specific heat, 273 
protective, of Colobus monkey, 272 ; of 
zebra, 272; of insects, 272-275 

Concord in Suahili, 340 

Cony [Hyrax or Procavia), 168 

Coral rocks of Mombasa Island, 55 

Cost of expeditions, 57 

Crabs, land, 155 

Crocodile, 115, 126, 133, 263; danger 
and power of, 277-279 ; size of, 278 

Crocodile River (Palestine), 252 

Dagoreti, history of fort, 'j^, 91 
Darwin's comparison of African and South 

American mammals, 264 
Dead Sea, former outlet from, 256-262 
Deserter found, 69 
Disease, animals destroyed by, 266 
Distribution, Biological — 

Abyssinian moUuscan fauna, 260 
apparently contradictory evidence of 
different groups, 238 ; explanation 
thereof, 238-239 
Cameroonian sub-region, 241 
Dead Sea birds and butterflies, 260-261 ; 

plants, 261 
Ethiopian fish fauna, its remarkable 
distribution, 248-251 ; explanation of, 
importance of fresh-water fish, 248-249 
influence of glacial climates, 242-246 
mountain floras, two types of, 247 
problems of distribution, 237-262, 294, 

Red Sea and Mediterranean faunas, re- 
lations of, 251-253 ; explanation of 
differences, 252-255 
Sinai flora, Ethiopian affinities of, 262 
Wallace and Haacke's theory of northern 
origin of life, 245-247 
Doko. See Pygmy tribes 
Dragon-tree [Draccvna), 196, 289 
Drill, Zanzibari, 74 
Drought, animals destroyed by, 268 

East Africa, economic products of, 373- 


economic prospects of, 373-383 

Scottish Mission, 76-78, 205-206 
Eclipse of sun, a hidden, and its conse- 
quences, 84 
Eggs, the native view of, 82 
Elephants, a long chase after, 264 

damage done by, 271 

migrations of, 264 

paths on Kenya, 167 

tracks of, 157 
El Satt^, ridge of, 257-258 
Erythrean River assumed, 257-262 
Esdraelon Gap, its origin, 253-255 

Euphorbias, two types of, 288 
Expedition to Lake Rudolf — 

advance guard sent to N'gatana, 26 

aims of, 15-17 

change of plan, 13 

conference at Witu, 32 

equipment, 16-17 

first march, 18 

lands at Lamu, 14 

leader leaves it, 38 

returns to Mombasa, 43-46 

troubles at Witu and Fungozambo, 

warned not to approach Juba, 43 

watched by Fumo Omari, 30, 42 

Famine at Njemps, 117-122, 139 

dear food, 144 

plans considered in consequence, 143- 
Faults, referred to, 93 

defined, 409 
Fire camp, attempt to, 202 
Fire-sticks, competition with, 201 
Fish fauna, the Ethiopian — 

explanation suggested, 255-259 

Gunther's theory of its origin, 249-250 

its distribution and occurrence in Pales- 
tine, 248-251 
Fish of Kibwezi, 78 
Flamingoes, 108, 276 
Flata, colonial habit, 273-276 
Foot-hills, flora of, 286 

of Kamasia, march across, 137 

of Laikipia, 149 

zone of, 222 
Foot plateau, 224 
Ford, an awkward, 85 

of Athi, 90 

of Karati, ig6 

of Malewa, 105-106 

of Tana, ig8 

of Thika-thika, 201 

of Voi, 69 • 
Forest belt of Kenya, 166-168 
Fossils in East Africa, 60 

accumulations of bones, 268 

Galla, 356 

history of, 367-369 

numbers of, 368 
Geology — 

Archean series, 227 

Block Mountains, 220-221 

Carboniferous series, 64, 65, 228 

comparative sequence, 225, 226 

Deccan Traps, 216 

Doenyan series, 231, 235 

earth-movements, recent date of, 221 ; 
influence of. on the people, 318 

eruj^tions, three types of, 2x9 

fissure eruptions, 215-219 



Geology — 

fossils at Chamgamwe, 60 ; of Sabaki, 207 

geographical zones, 222-225 

glacial geology, 232, 244 ; evidence for, 
at Cape Colony, 243 

history, 226-236 ; summary of three divi- 
sions, 234 ; table of, 235 

Jurassic series, 229 

Kamasia foot-hills, 137 

Kaptian series, 230, 235 

Karagwe series, 228 

Laikipian series, 231, 235 

lakes and terraces, 94, 232 

lava plains, 88-89, 215-218 

literature on, 214 

Magarini Sands, 229 

moraines of Kenya, 168-177 

Murchison's theory, 213 

Naivasha series, 235 

Nyasan series, 231, 233, 235 

of Kenya, 175 

physical geography, 222-225 

plateau eruptions, 215-219 

Rift Valley, 219-220 

Sabaki shales, 228 

sketch-map of, 217 

Snake River lava plains, 216 

stone implements, 236 

Triassic beds, 229 

volcanic rock sequence, 235 

volcanic series, 230-231, 233, 235 
Giraffe destroyed by disease, 266 
Glaciers of Kenya, 173, 177 
Gnu destroyed by disease, 266 
Groundsels, tree, 291 
Guide, a Kikuyu, 196 

a primitive but trustful Njemps, 125- 
126, 130 

a starved Laikipian, 141-142, 145, 154 ; 
his fate, 156 

a Suahili, 33 

Headman, qualifications required in, 58 
Hippopotamus, 115, 133 

killed by lions, 271 
Hohnel, Mount, ascent of, 174 
Hongo, 99 
Hot springs, ii5 
Hyenas in camp, 197 

Ice, Zanzibari first experience of, 170 
Insect coloration, 275-276 
mimicry, 273-275 

Jordan Lake, outlet from, by Esdraelon 
Gap, 253-256 
by Wadi Arabah, 256-262 

Kenya, discovery of, 164 
exploration of, 162-184 
first view of, 151 
names of, 162 

Kikuyu, affinities of the tribe, 352 

experiences with, 91 

meet a party of Kikuyu refugees, 201 

superstitions, 189, 190, 191, 194, 197- 

the tribe, 351-353 

trouble with, near Kenya, 157-161 

trouble with, 189-197 

wars of, 92 
Kilima Njaro, view of, 78 
Kilungu, unfriendly behaviour of natives 

of, 82-84 
Kiroboto, uselessness of, 73 
Kisuahili, 339-342 

Labour supply in East Africa, 372, 376- 

Laikipia, ascent on to, 149 

exploration of, 146-147 

geology of, 231 

march across, 146-161 
Lake Baringo, 127-136 

Elmetaita, 108 

Kibibi, 109 

Losuguta, iir-113 

Naivasha, 98-105 

Rudolf, 131 

Suess, 94 
Lake Chain of East Africa, 2-5 
Lakes, two types of African, 3 
Lamu, scenery of, 15 
Language of Suahili, 339-342 
Lava plains, 88-89 
Lead mine, 63 

Legends and traditions, evidence of, 5, 34 
Levant, formerly land, 252 
Lions, 89, 139, 140 

abundance of, 265 

attack camp, 150-151 

exaggerated powers of, 271 

kill hippopotamus, 271 
Lobelias, tree, 291 
Lualaba series, 228 

Mammals, African, 263-264 

accumulations of fossil bones, 268 

causes of, 265, 269 

influence of disease, 266 

list of, 406 

numbers reduced, 265 
Mangroves, 285 
March, rate of, 209 
Masai, affinities, 354 

attack on Kikuyu, 201 

first meeting with, 96 

Fort Smith threatened by, 93 

habits, 353 

night attempt, 104 

origin of, 362 

previous descriptions of, 3t;3, 354 

raiding party met, 205 

raids of, 363-367 



Masai, tracks of war-parties, 75-79 

unfriendly behaviour of, at Naivasha, 

war dances, 102 

Wilson attacked by, 72 
Melanism, a case of, 78 
Methods of distribution, 257 
Mimicry, insect, 273-275 
Mineral resources and predictions, 374- 

Mohammedanism, Somali, 40, 368 

Suahili form of, 338-339 
Mombasa, arrival at, 43-46 

departure from, 60 

fort built, 53 

history of, 52-55 

position and scenery, 51-52, 55 

preparations at, 56-59 

return to, 208-209 
Moraines of Kenya, 168, 177 
Mountain ascents — 

Etwa, 83 

Givoni, 85 

Kenya, 162-188 

Longonot, 97 

Mbololo or Ndi, 71 

Meza, Kilima, 108 

Mt. Hohnel, 174 

Mwaru, Doenyo lol, 149 

Nyuki, Doenyo, 95 

South arete of Kenya, 179 

Tututha, 85 

Voroni, 200 

West arete of Kenya, 181 
Mountain forest zone, 290 
Mountain sickness, 175, 178, 185-188 

National migrations, 333, 337, 346, 347, 

Negrillo races, 325, 334 
Negro races, 334-351 

meanings of the term Negro, 335 
Negroid races, 351-356 
Ngao, Lutheran mission at, 30, 34 
Ngurunga or water-holes, 66 
Nile, former sources of, 259 
Njemps, arrival at, 117 

famine at, 117-122, 139 

stay at, 11 
Njempsians, Wa-kauvi or Wa-kwafi, Tig, 


affinities, 355 
theory of origin, 354 
Nyika, 222, 223, 224 
entered, 64 
flora of, 286-289, 295 
scenery described, 65 
See Wa-nyika 

Omo River, problem of, 258 
Ostriches, 116 

Palms, coco-nut, 284 

date, 285 

Hyphaene, 242, 284 

Palmyra, 284 
Place-names, native, 87 
Pokomo. See Wa-pokomo 
Porter lost, 152 
Porters, collapse, 169, 183-184, 189 

quarrel with, at Voi, 69 

some of them mutiny, 128-130 

sulk at Bwinzau, 79 
Portuguese in East Africa, 52-55, 337-338 
Primitive mountain axis, 222, 223 
Problems of African exploration, difficulty 

of, 1-2 
Pronunciation of native names, rule for, x. 
Proverbs, native, quoted, 11, 17, 47, 88, 

155, 189, 237, 362 
Puff-adder, 69 
Pygmy tribes — 

Akka, 332 

ancient reports of, 325-326 

Doko representatives of this group, 
account of, 329-334 

Negrillo or Negrito? 332-334 

possibly related to Bushmen, 333-334 

reported in British East Africa, 326-328 

Wanderobbo, 328, 331 

wide distribution of, 326 

Rangatan, 222, 224, 225 

flora of, 289 
Return to Machakos, 204 
Rhinoceros, two-horned {R. hicornis), no, 
adventures with, 113, 270 
character of, 266, 267 
habits of, 269 

square-mouthed or Burchell's {R. sirmts), 
266 ; Bushman drawing of, 267 ; 
allied species on Laikipia (/?. hohn- 
7voodi), 267 
Rift Valley, first view of, 93 

formation of, 220, 231, 233-234 
history of exploration of, 7-9 
interest of, 5-6 
march along, 93-147 
topography of, 2-6 
Rills of moon, 6 
River systems, changes in African, 248- 

Rudolf, Lake, nearest point reached, 131 
See Expedition to Lake Rudolf 

Serval, 27 

Settima and Aberdare Mts. , their structure, 

She-oak (Casuarina), 237, 285 
Siyu, origin of people of, 338 
Slavery in East Africa, 277-2,^2 
Snakes, puff-adder collected, 69 
rash capture of a Dendraspis, 80 



Snow-craft, notes on, 185 
Snow-fields, 291 
Snow-storm, first, 169 
Somali, character of, 357-359 

first experience of, 10 

history of, 357 

one runs amuck, 92-93 

raids and encroachment of, 363-366, 369 

the escort prove troublesome, 20, 22, 
23, 29, 40, 46-47 
Songs and verses, native, quoted, 51, 107 
Specific heat and insect coloration, 275-276 
Spirits, native legends of, 71, 188, 197-198 
Stone implements, 322-325, Fig. 19 
Suahili, conflict with Portuguese, 338 

introductions of Arab influence, 337 

language, 339-342 

origin of, 336-337 

religion, 338-339 

supposed sterility in intermarriage, 339 

Taita hill-paths, 70 

Tana, canoeing on, 30, 34-35 

the water turns red, 36 
Tanganyika, discussion as to outlet from, 

Temborari or coastal plain, 222 

flora of, 283-285 
Temperature on Kenya, 176, 182 
Thika-thika, exploration of, 199-201 
Topography of Kenya, 171-173 
Transpiration, methods of reducing, in 

African desert plants, 288 
Trees, shapes moulded by wind, 293 
Tsetse-fly, 21, 25 
Turtle, a water-, 202 
Tzavo station, 73 

Uganda railway, 63 

necessity for, 365 
Uganda road, 62, 67, 207 

Volcanic chain, the main, 222, 224 

Wa-daicho, 351 
Wa-giriama, 351 
Wa-kamba, arts, 349 

attempt to fire camp, 203 

distribution, 347 

importance of the tribe, 351 

language, 350 

of Iveti, 205 

of Kibwezi, 77 

Wa-kamba, original home, 347, 363 

political system, 348 

religion, 351 

their watch-hill, 81 

useful servants, 376 

wars, 347 
Wa-kauvi or Wa-kwafi. See Njempsians 
Wanderobbo, 151, 155 

interest of the tribe, 328, 331 
Wa-nyika, 351 
Wa-pokomo, 28 

arts of, 345-346 

character of, 343 

cowardice of, 344 

former greater range, 346 

politics of, 345 

religion of, 344 

songs of, 345 

women, 343 
Wa-taita, 70, 351, 377 
Wind, influence on trees, 293 
Witu, history of, 19 

Somali, mutiny at, 22 

Zanzibar, relations with England, and 

Lord Canning's award, 54 
Zanzibari, attitude to Somali, 299 

dasturi, respect for, 305-306, 308 

devotion of, 303, 307, 309 

failings of, 304-305 

first experience of, 299-300 

heroes of African exploration, the, 315 

humour of, 309, 311-313 

loads, 170, 308 

mixed race, a, 302-303 

origin of, 296 

proverbs, 11, 17, 237 

psychology of, 314 

record, man with a bad, 312-314 

religion of, 170, 306 

reputation of, 297-299 

tribute to, 209 

uncertainty as sentries, 89, 145 
Zebras, 139, 140, 199 

use of coloration of, 272 
Zoology. See chap. xiv. pp. 263 - 279 ; 
App. C, p. 406 

See also Birds, Buffalo, Camel, Colora- 
tion, Cony, Crocodile, Distribution, 
Elephant, Fish, Giraffe, Hippopota- 
mus, Hyena, Lions, Mammals, 
Rhinoceros, Snakes 

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